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A Different Kind Of Medical Exam: What To Know About SSD Consultative Exams

The federal government provides a valuable resource for those unable to work at their jobs because of a qualifying medical condition. Social Security Disability (SSD) allows people who have paid into the system by working enough and earning enough to stop working and earn monthly benefits. For some claimants, the application process may involve a request by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to undergo a medical exam. The consultative medical exam (CME) often becomes part of the application process when you have not received medical care for your condition or have not provided enough medical proof of your condition. The SSA may have reason to doubt your qualifications for receiving benefits, so it's definitely in your best interest to understand as much as possible about the CME. To learn more, read on.

Why am I being asked to undergo this exam?

You cannot get your SSD approved without proving that you have a medical condition, and the SSA needs to see medical records that show that you have had recent and ongoing medical treatment for the condition that you claim is preventing you from working. If you submit an application with little to no medical condition proof, you may be asked to undergo this exam. You should know that this request is often the final step in your application process.

What happens during this exam?

This medical exam is unlike any other you've likely ever had. The doctor is chosen, and paid for, by the SSA and the doctor will not be performing any treatments or prescribing any medications for you. You will have your "vitals" checked (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, etc) and the doctor will then examine you carefully, paying particular attention to the pertinent body part that is connected to your medical condition. For example, if you are unable to work due to carpal tunnel syndrome, your doctor will closely examine your wrists and question you about the symptoms that are preventing you from working at your job. Often, additional diagnostic tests are ordered, such as blood tests, MRI's, x-rays, etc.

What happens after the exam?

Nothing happens very quickly in the SSD application process, but there is a 10-day deadline for the doctor to submit the results of the CME to the SSA. Delays should be expected, particularly if the doctor is waiting for lab results to come in before forming an opinion as to your disability. You will receive a notification by mail with your CME results, and you will likely receive a determination on your eligibility soon after. Don't be too discouraged by a denial; you still have an opportunity to appeal your case and get the benefits you deserve.

Contact a Social Security attorney like CHARLES P. ERICKSON, ESQ. for help in getting through the appeals process successfully.