What is a Consultative Examination?

It’s a medical exam paid for by the Social Security Administration to get more information about your condition and claim.

If you file a Social Security Disability claim and your medical records are thin ― or you haven’t seen a doctor recently ― there’s a chance you will be scheduled for a consultative examination.

If this happens, don’t be alarmed. It just means that Social Security needs more information to make a decision on your Disability claim. The goal of a consultative examination is to obtain more information about your condition, limitations and the validity of your claim.

Contrary to popular belief, the doctor who performs your Disability exam does not work for the Social Security Administration. While the SSA pays for consultative exams, the doctors who perform them are independent physicians familiar with the Social Security Disability Insurance program.

In some cases, Social Security might even ask your own doctor to perform the consultative examination if they are qualified and willing to do independent exams. If not, Social Security will ask a qualified doctor close to your home to perform the exam.

Consultative examinations can by physical, psychological or psychiatric, depending on your condition. They can involve blood work, X-rays, eye exams or any other test requested by Social Security.

It’s important to point out that the doctor’s role in a consultative examination is not to treat you. Their job is to examine you, administer necessary tests, evaluate your circumstances and submit a report to the Social Security Administration.

Also, it is in your best interest to show up on time for a scheduled consultative exam. If you don’t, your claim could be dismissed for failing to cooperate.

Consultative exams tend to make people nervous, but they can actually be a good thing. At the very least, it means your case is being actively worked on and you may be a step closer toward approval once Social Security receives the additional medical evidence. Of course, if the exam doesn’t go well, your claim could be denied.

The best way to avoid a consultative exam altogether is to supply the Social Security Administration with sufficient up-to-date medical documentation from the beginning. An experienced Disability attorney will know what kind of evidence the SSA needs to substantiate your claim, how to satisfy their requirements and how to keep them updated.

The Disability team at McDonald Law Firm would be glad to give you a free claim review and present a solid, comprehensive claim on your behalf. If you are already facing a consultative exam, we would be happy to work with you from this point forward to maximize your chance of success.

Please visit our Disability FAQs page to see other questions like, What is a Consultative Examination?

We hope you found this information helpful. The Disability team at McDonald Law Firm understands Social Security Disability law and strives to provide compassionate, zealous representation to each and every client. Whether you want to file a Disability application or appeal a denied claim, we can help. Call us today at 855-702-9061 to get started.

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