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As part of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD), you may be asked to participate in a Social Security examination. These exams are performed by doctors on behalf of the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify your condition. Many people may be nervous about what the exam entails and how they should act. This guide, provided by Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is intended to help answer some questions and relieve some of the stress. If you need a Social Security attorney in Arkansas, Ken Kieklak might be able to help. Ken Kieklak is here to discuss Social Security Disability exam questions an applicant may face.
What Is the Social Security Consultative Examination?
The Social Security Exam often referred to as the Consultative Examination (CE), is used to help determine whether an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) should be approved. In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a disability. The SSA has a very particular definition of disability that states a person must be unable to engage in any “substantial gainful activity” due to a physical or mental illness. The SSA will also consider the following factors when determining whether a person has a disability:
- Whether an applicant is able to work despite their condition
- Whether the applicant has a qualifying condition acknowledged by the SSA or similar to an illness listed by the SSA
- Your condition is expected to last for at least one year or lead to your death.
Due to the risk of applicants faking conditions, exaggerating their inability to perform SGA, and committing Social Security fraud is very real, the SSA is very cautious in accepting applicants. Often, applicants will need to submit forms explaining their condition and their day-to-day abilities and will need these verified by a third party. This may mean that a doctor, therapist, or caregiver needs to submit information about your condition and abilities before the SSA will approve SSD payments.
Specifically, to be considered for SSDI, an applicant must submit medical evidence of their disability. The medical evidence submitted must show that the applicant has an impairment and that the severity of the applicant’s impairment. The SSA has identified multiple forms of medical evidence that can be used to prove a disability:
- Statements from a licensed physician familiar with your condition
- Statements from a specialist that has treated you
- Information provided by social workers, employers, professors, and others familiar with the applicant’s disability
The CE is used when those forms do not provide enough information, and the SSA wants to personally verify your disability. The doctors that perform CEs may be skeptical of your condition and may work to test your limits. They may also ask mental exam questions if you are claiming a mental condition for Social Security.
Ultimately, the exam may seem tedious and stressful and might make you feel like the SSA does not trust you. This is not something to worry about and is merely a hardship you might need to deal with. In some cases, if you speak to an attorney about your SSD filing from the beginning, you may be able to avoid the need for a CE. Since the SSA does not typically request a Consultative Exam unless they lack sufficient information, your Social Security attorney can help you make sure your application is complete when you initially file it.
How Do I Prepare for a Social Security Exam?
It is important to remember that a Social Security exam is as much a test of your honesty as it is of your condition. These tests verify true disabilities and eliminate false disability claims. That means that when you truly meet the definition of “disabled,” they will see that in the exam. It is vital that you answer questions honestly. Do not exaggerate or embellish your condition, and do not lie.
There are two types of CE reports: adult CEs and pediatric CEs. However, each type of CE will ask substantially the same questions. The following is a list of questions that you should be prepared to answer for your Social Security examination.
Identity of the Claimant
A claimant should be ready to provide their Social Security number, photo identification, and a physical description of the applicant. These questions are preliminary and should be the easiest to resolve.
Medical History of the Claimant
Next, the claimant must provide medical records or other documents that were submitted when the claimant underwent the examination. As mentioned, the SSA will likely require that you are examined by a medical practitioner of their choice to help determine the severity of your disability. The results of this examination will be used by the SSA when carrying out the CE.
Additionally, the SSA may also require an applicant to submit information about any medical experts being utilized to prove their case.
When submitting past and current medical history, the applicant should focus on the following factors:
- The date of diagnosis and progression of the disability
- The signs and symptoms the applicant frequently contends with as a result of the disability
- Treatments are undertaken to manage the disability
- The daily activities of the applicant
The doctors performing your CE understand what information they already have and what information they still need (or need to verify). This means you should answer their questions honestly and fully – but this does not necessarily mean you should volunteer extra information. Talking to an attorney about your exam before you go in can help you more fully understand what to expect.
As for the actual questions, most of them will seem familiar. When applying for SSD and filling out various SSD forms, you will answer most of the questions the CE examiner asks. Much of the CE revolves around your medical history, your current conditions, your ability to care for yourself, and your ability to perform work-related tasks. One of the main goals of a CE is to allow a representative of the SSA see your condition for themselves. Things may appear one way on paper, but be very different in real life.
A secondary goal of the CE is to help people who are not very proficient in English. The SSD calls this “limited English proficiency” (LEP). Since all the forms require writing and explaining your condition in English, people with poor English skills may have a very hard time. Ken Kieklak can help you overcome these issues by helping you fill out your applications, the CE also works to avoid causing LEP applicants to struggle.
Arkansas Social Security Disability Attorney Ken Kieklak Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one is filing for Social Security Disability benefits and needs a Consultative Exam, it is important to talk to an attorney about your application. If you are still in the early stages of applying for SSD, having an attorney file a strong application from the beginning might avoid the need for further submissions and exams. In any case, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, offers free consultations on Social Security Disability cases in Arkansas. Call (479) 316-0438 today.