The Consultative Examination

November 1st, 2013

Each claimant for Social Security disability must provide medical records as part of the application process. If the Social Security Administration (actually the state agency with whom SSA contracts to determine eligibility for disability) concludes that the submitted medical evidence is insufficient to support a disability finding, experienced disability lawyers in San Jose will tell you that the SSA will more often than not require the claimant to undergo a consultative examination.

The Nature of the Exam

Disability Lawyers in San Jose

The examination is conducted by an independent, third party medical professional who is supposed to be qualified to assess the specific impairment of the claimant. Theoretically, as your disability attorneys in San Jose will tell you, the doctor who conducts the exam is neutral; that is, he or she does not work for you and does not work for the SSA. Consultative exams can evaluate physical, psychiatric, or psychological medical impairments. Many of our clients will note that the exam by consultative examiner is too brief, and not as thorough and detailed as exams performed by treating physicians or other medical examiners. For this reason, it is often a good idea for the claimant to note the actual time span of the medical examination; whether the exam evaluated all of the claimants’ impairments; and whether the consultative doctor had access to the claimant’s test results or treatment records. If the claimant notes that the doctor did an incomplete exam, it is sometimes a good idea for the claimant to write a note to our office, or to the disability analyst who scheduled the exam, that the exam was sub-standard, and to explain why it was not a complete exam.

Failing to Go to the Exam

A claimant can decline the request for a consultative exam, but as knowledgeable disability lawyers in San Jose understand, it is almost never in your best interests to do so. A failure to undergo the exam will result in the SSA relying on the previously submitted medical evidence, which it initially found insufficient to support a disability award. In addition, many evaluators within SSA view the failure to attend the medical exam as a sign that the claimant is “non-cooperative”, or even that the claimant has something to hide. For these reasons, our advice is that our clients attend the consultative exam in virtually every case.

Preparation for the Exam

The best advice disability lawyers in San Jose can give you regarding a consultative exam is to be completely honest and straightforward about your impairments. Do not exaggerate, but do not be reluctant to communicate your limitations. Additionally:

  • Show up on time.
  • Be courteous to not only the doctor, but the staff as well.
  • Communicate with the doctor; explain how your impairments prevent you from carrying out activities on a sustained and reliable basis.

Contact Disability Attorneys in San Jose for Legal Advice

The SSA disability process is arduous and most claimants are denied upon initial application. Do not let that deter you from receiving the benefits you have earned. Call LaPorte Law Firm, disability lawyers in San Jose, at 800-735-3425.


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