a medical exam, disability lawyers

Tennesseans who apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration may be asked to submit to consultative exams, making it important for them to understand what to expect. The Social Security Administration asks applicants to submit to consultative exams when they do not have enough medical documentation of their disabling conditions. Consultative exams are not meant to provide treatment but are rather meant to help the Disability Determination Services determine the severity of the disability.

What Is a Consultative Exam?

A consultative exam is meant to assess an applicant’s disability and his or her limitations. The Social Security Administration states that the examining doctor’s report must contain information about the duration and severity of the condition as well as the applicant’s ability to perform work functions. The exam can either be psychological or physical and may include additional laboratory tests, EKGs, or x-rays. Consultative exams are conducted by doctors who are independent contractors.

Preparing For a Consultative Exam

People who receive requests to submit to consultative exams should understand that attending is not optional. If they fail to show up for the exams, the likelihood that their applications for benefits will be denied is increased. People should bring lists of their disabling conditions along with them as well as information about the medications that they are prescribed. People should answer all of the questions that they are asked and try to perform the different activities as best as they can. They should not exaggerate their symptoms and should be truthful about the limitations that they face. Doctors who conduct consultative exams are often trained to identify when someone is trying to exaggerate. Exaggerating symptoms may lead doctors to believe that the person is malingering, which might make it more difficult for the applicant to prevail on his or her benefits claim.

Doctors who perform consultative exams for the Social Security Administration are required to spend enough time evaluating the claimant to make their determinations. People should note the time that they spend at the exams as well as everything that was performed while they were there. This information may be useful on appeal if the claim is denied.