SSA- They want me to see their doctors. Do I need a lawyer?If you have submitted a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application you may have received a request from the Social Security Administration to go to a consultative examination. You may be wondering if this is good for your case and whether or not it signals the need to hire a SSDI disability lawyer to improve your chances of winning SSDI or SSI benefits.
The truth about a consultative examination
If the SSA has told you that you need to see a consultative examiner this is not good news. The SSA makes their SSDI or SSI disability determination almost exclusively based on your current medical records and the fact that they need you to see another doctor means they do not feel that they have sufficient medical evidence to make a disability determination.
Although the consultative examiner or C.E. does not work for the SSA (they are not a government worker but are contracted by the SSA) and is supposed to provide an unbiased medical evaluation, what most disability applicants observe is that the consultative examination is nothing more than a cursory, and I mean VERY cursory, evaluation.
What does this mean for your case? It is likely, unless you have a condition which is obviously very disabling, that they may not have enough information or time to fully determine whether or not you can work.
What are my options?
Unfortunately, if you have been told to go see a C.E. you must comply or your case is likely to be automatically denied. Keep in mind, however, that the information the C.E. provides back to the SSA is generally not helpful and you have a high chance of being denied. The C.E. is not responsible for deciding if you are disabled; they only provide information to the SSA who is responsible for making the disability decision.
Denied after a Consultative Examination, what next?
If you are denied after the C.E. examination than it may be time to talk to a disability lawyer. The Disability lawyer will tell you what I am going to tell you: winning disability without being under the care of a doctor and without specific medical evidence that you cannot work is very difficult.
There are a handful of SSDI or SSI disability applicants who will win benefits after a consultative examination but this will be the exception, not the rule. Relying on the consultative examiner is never a good idea.
This begs the question, What if I cannot afford medical care? This is one of the great questions and there is no good answer. Thousands of severely SSDI and SSI disabled applicants are denied each year simply because the lack medical evidence to support their case. Review my blog, How can I get Social Security Administration disability if I cannot afford to see a doctor? for more information.
Do I need a disability lawyer?
Not everyone will need a disability lawyer, and many applicants will be approved without legal help; however, up to 75% of claimants are denied at the application level and a disability lawyer can help you appeal your denial.
- 5 Important steps AFTER you file for SSA disability benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)