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Social Security Disability Consultative Examinations: What to Know

Consultative examinations are required in some Social Security Disability cases. Consultative examinations are essentially medical examinations scheduled by the DDS claims examiner.

Consultative examinations are often times scheduled if an individual lacks sufficient medical records. They are also often scheduled when an individual has not been seen by a doctor or provider for a length of time. These consultative examinations are generally scheduled and attended prior to the hearing. However, a consultative examination can be scheduled post-hearing in some cases.

Consultative exams, often referred to as a “CE”, are performed by doctors who have been contracted to perform such exams through the Social Security Administration. The doctors who perform the consultative examinations specialize in several different areas including internal medicine, orthopedic medicine, and psychiatric medicine. These doctors will be assigned based on which impairments need further evaluation in an individual’s case. For example, if depression and anxiety is major issue as to why an individual cannot work then a psychiatric consultative examination may be required.

It is important to note that consultative examinations are not done for the purposes of treating an individual. For example, the doctor will not give an individual insight into their conditions or recommend treatment or medication. Instead, a consultative examination’s specific purpose is to give a written summary of an individual’s physical or mental conditions and their opinion of what limitations that individual would have based on the severity of those conditions.

Therefore, is essential an individual not only attend these consultative examinations once scheduled, but it is important the individual also be cooperative and thorough when working with the doctor. Overall, a consultative examination is important evidence which judges consider in every case, so speaking with an attorney to understand how it may play a role in your case is very helpful.

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