Why Should I See a Social Security Doctor?

Should I go to my appointment with the Social Security Doctor?


Why should I see a Social Security Doctor?  Why was I scheduled to see the Social Security Doctor I have my own.

Ask a Disability Attorney


Age 35, Student

A:  In some cases you may be required to see a doctor as part of your disability case. It is pretty normal, and most people filing for disability will be necessary to attend such an exam. As part of your application for benefits, Social Security has to come to a conclusion as to what your physical and mental limitations are. If your medical records don’t discuss your limitations, or if the administration feels that there isn’t enough evidence to establish your case, they may schedule you for a “consultative exam.” It’s important to know that this doctor isn’t going to treat your condition, they’re only going to examine you and give an opinion about your diagnosis and any limitations that may result. It’s also worth mentioning that these exams aren’t as thorough as some would like. Many people walk out of their exams wondering what just happened. These exams, in general, tend to be very quick and not very accurate. At the first disability firm I worked at there was a horror story floating around of a consultative exam that one of our clients had attended. The notice of the exam received by our client indicated that they were to meet the doctor “in the white van parked outside the [grocery store] parking lot.” Because these exams are notoriously short given once, they are not given much weight in the evidence, especially when compared to the records from doctors that you’ve seen over an extended period. One little-known fact is that Social Security is required to ask your doctors if they will perform the exam prior to sending you out to one of their contracted doctors. If you’re applying for disability, talk to your doctor and ask if they’d be willing to perform the exam, if they are, talk to Social Security and let them know. An exam by your doctor will do much more to establish your case than the reports of a consultative doctor. Hiring an attorney can be helpful because they can work to make sure Social Security gets opinions from your doctors rather than from theirs.

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