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Top 5 things to Know about a disability physical examination

1.    Having a Consultative Physical Examinations may not be good for your SSDI or SSI case.

If the Social Security Administration has scheduled you for a consultative physical examination this means one of three things 1) the Social Security Administration did not have enough medical information about your condition to determine if you were disabled; 2) your medical sources failed to send your medical records to the Social Security Administration; or 3) you have not seen the right types of specialist for your condition.

So why a consultative physical examination not good? The best evidence you can have for your disability claim is information from a trusted medical source who understands your condition, who supports your Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claim, and who has provided sufficient information to prove you cannot work.

The consultative physical examination is generally a short, cursory review of your mental or physical health condition and is generally not going to help claimants win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits.

2.  The Consultative Examiner does not work for the Social Security Administration

Consultative examiners are independent, non-government employees. They do not work for the Social Security Administration and the information they provide to the Social Security Administration is supposed be objective.

3. Consultative physical examinations may help certain claimants win Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income

Although a consultative physical examination are generally not helpful to Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claimants, if a claimant has a readily apparent disability and they have been unable to get sufficient medical documentation to prove their claim (potentially due to lack of insurance or other means) the consultative examination may be their last and only chance to win benefits.

The consultative examiner will complete a residual functional capacity form which outlines the limitations of the claimant, and if the SSA disability examiner has very little medical evidence they may have to rely heavily on the consultative examiners observations when they make their disability determination.

4. Information from your own doctor should be valued above a consultative examiner’s observations.

According to the Social Security Administration, if the C.E. physical examination contradicts information provided by your own personal physician, the SSA should weigh the opinion of your own personal doctor more highly. Why? Because your doctor has a continued ongoing relationship with you and presumably has more information about how your mental or physical health condition affects your daily life.

Most claimants do not also realize that under some conditions they may have their own primary care doctor perform their consultative examination.

5. Be proactive and honest in your consultative examination.

If you are scheduled for a consultative examination there are a few things you should do. Be on time and be patient. Be honest. Do not exaggerate your pain or fake injuries but do not hide anything either. This is not the time to be brave and “put on a good face.”

Immediately after your consultative examination you should take notes. Record information from the examination like the length of the exam and what tests were done. Unfortunately, one of the top complaints from disability claimants is about the brevity or the duration of the consultative examination.

If you do end up appealing your Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income denial and requesting an administrative hearing, detailed notes from your consultative examination may be used by your disability lawyer to discredit negative information from the consultative examiner.
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