When you file a Social Security Disability application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will utilize a team of medical professionals to review your claim to determine if your claim is approved or denied. This team of healthcare experts will complete a thorough assessment of the documentation and evidence attached with your claim. In some cases, the SSA will require additional analysis and request that an applicant meets with an independent disability doctor to further evaluate their medical condition. Below, our Arkansas disability benefits attorney, Ken Kieklak, looks at what you should expect during the consultative examination and what the disability doctor is looking for.
What is a Consultative Examination for Social Security Disability Applications?
A consultative examination is a medical procedure that is scheduled to provide additional information for a submitted Social Security Disability claim. The SSA, through the Disability Determination Services (DDS), will request a consultative examination if it is determined that an applicant has not sent enough medical evidence or if there are inconsistencies in the information contained in the application. In some cases, an applicant’s medical condition could change, warranting an examination with a disability doctor. Our experienced Fayetteville, AR disability attorney will work with you to provide enough medical documentation to, hopefully, avoid an additional examination.
The SSA provides specific guidelines regarding a consultative examination. First, the physician that is chosen to conduct the exam should be the doctor that initially treated the applicant’s medical condition. By having the original physician perform the exam, the SSA anticipates the most accurate assessment of the applicant’s medical condition.
If there is a reason why the original doctor is unable to conduct the exam, an independent doctor would be used. This means that a physician who has never treated the applicant would be required to complete a thorough examination.
There are a number of reasons why an independent doctor would be necessary. In some cases, the original doctor is reluctant or does not want to conduct the exam. If there are inconsistencies in the medical documentation included with the application, the original physician could be disqualified. In some situations, the applicant could also have a valid reason to request a different doctor. Our Arkansas disability case referrals attorney will work closely with you if a consultive examination is required.
What Does the Consultative Examination Include in Arkansas?
The purpose of the consultative examination is to provide the SSA with medical evidence to use in its determination of your disability claim. During the medical exam, an applicant should approach the process the same way they would treat any medical examination. However, the point of this examination is not to provide treatment – it is to obtain information. Therefore, it is important to answer every question as truthfully as possible, providing the physician with accurate information regarding your medical history and condition. Under no circumstances should you exaggerate your symptoms.
On the other hand, you should not play down the severity of your condition or its impact on your ability to work. In the end, the Social Security doctor’s objective is to determine the seriousness of your condition. You could review what the doctor is looking for with our Arkansas disability benefits appeals lawyer before the exam takes place.
What to Expect During the Consultative Examination
A critical role our knowledgeable Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyer plays in your application process is ensuring that the medical evidence provided in your application is consistent and sufficient. However, given the nature of diagnosing medical conditions and the fact the conditions worsen or change, a consultative examination could be vital in providing support for your claim. The full extent of the exam itself will depend on your condition. For instance, the examination could include a physical, blood tests, x-rays, or other diagnostic tests. The team evaluating your application will determine what tests should be administered.
The consultive examination is not meant to treat your condition. The only reason it is being conducted is to help provide additional medical evidence to determine if your medical condition meets the SSA’s guidelines for disability. Therefore, it is essential to remember you have a voice. If you believe that the exanimating physician has not collected enough evidence, you should say something. This is not a suggestion to be rude, but rather to further explain your medical condition. Remember, this examination’s primary objective is to provide additional medical evidence that will be used to either support or deny your claim. Truthfulness and accuracy are important during the examination. However, it is possible that the doctor, especially if it is an independent physician and not the one who initially diagnosed your condition, could miss or fail to emphasize specific symptoms that preclude you from working.
Under no circumstance should you be late or miss an appointment that was scheduled through the SSA. There is no guarantee that an examination will be rescheduled and without the additional medical evidence, your claim will likely be denied. You should take notes during or immediately following the exam. If your claim is denied, having detailed notes of what occurred during the exam could provide valuable information if an experienced Fort Smith, AR disability attorney files an appeal.
Call Our Experienced Arkansas Disability Attorney to Discuss the Consultive Examination with Your Doctor
Social Security Disability benefits are often necessary. However, the application process is challenging and only a small percentage of initial claims are approved. By having an experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability attorney working with you, many of the errors and omissions individuals make could be avoided. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, will also provide guidance if you are required to undergo a consultive medical examination. Contact our office at (479) 316-0438 to review your claim during a free consultation.