Social security lawyer giving a consultation to a client in her hom

SSDI Consultative Exams: What to Expect

Congratulations—you’ve landed a Social Security disability insurance consultative exam! You might be nervous that SSA doesn’t yet have the necessary information to grant you SSDI, but remember to stay positive, because this is still a step forward. So what now? How does the SSDI consultative exam work, and what can you expect from the process?

Who Sets Up the Exam, and How Much Does it Cost?

First things first: don’t worry about the cost. The Social Security Administration covers all consultative examinations. The Disability Determination Service is a state run agency that helps the Social Security Administration make disability determinations, and will assist throughout the consultative exam process.

Who Conducts the Exam?

Generally, the SSA will ask your personal doctor to perform the exam if he or she has both the skills and equipment needed. Your treating doctor has the right to refuse to complete the exam, and if he or she makes that choice, the DDS will set up an exam with another doctor. All examiners must be licensed physicians.

What Will Happen During the Exam?

During your consultative exam, your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and perform a physical examination. If the DDS requests any other specific tests, your doctor will perform those as well.

Your doctor will not provide his or her opinion regarding whether or not you should be receiving disability. He or she will only provide a thorough assessment or your medical history, physical exam, lab reports, treatment history and a professional perspective on your capacity to work.

What if My Disability is Mental, Not Physical?

If you are seeking disability benefits for a mental ailment (bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, etc.), the Social Security Administration will have you perform a psychiatric consultative exam that they refer to as a “Mental Status Examination” or MSE.

The Mental Status Examination will test your ability to follow directions and concentrate as well as your intelligence, judgment and memory. They might give you additional tests such as neuropsychological examinations.

When Will the DDS Receive My Results?

Usually, your doctor will send your exam assessment to the Disability Determination Service within ten days.

Be Sure You Make it to Your Exam!

Make sure you go to your consultation examination. If you don’t, the SSA will determine your benefits based on the information they currently have. Since they have already notified you they found that data insufficient, they will likely deny you benefits based on a lack of evidence.

Speak to a Disability Benefits Lawyer

There is absolutely no reason to be nervous about your exam. All you have to do is be truthful about your medical health. However, if you do end up feeling stressed before your consultative examination, you might find comfort in speaking to a disability benefits lawyer. A disability benefits lawyer will explain your rights, detail the SSDI process, help you prepare and answer any questions you might have throughout the experience. Contact The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour for questions regarding your SSDI consultative exam process.

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