Have you been notified by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you need to appeal for a consultative examination (CE)? You may be excited that your disability application appears to be moving forward, but may also be anxious about the CE and what it might mean. You see, a CE is most often required by the SSA when an application for disability benefits lacks sufficient medical evidence to determine whether a qualifying disability exists. Regardless, however, it is in your best interest to prepare for an attend the CE so that your disability benefits claim has a better chance at being successful.
What Is a Consultative Examination for Social Security?
Disability Determination Service (DDS) is the agency tasked by the SSA to assist with rendering disability determinations. It is, in fact, DDS that will make the request for you to attend a CE or to take additional tests if it finds medical records supporting your disability to be lacking or if the medical evidence provided is deemed to be out of date.
The SSA will pay for a CE and it is often performed by an applicant’s treating physician. Should your physician lack the requisite skills and equipment to complete the CE, then DDS will make arrangements for the CE to be performed by another CE. DDS also commonly has a physician other than an applicant’s treating physician perform a CE when that treating physician has provided unclear or confusing reports or has given DDS some other reason to be distrustful of the physician. In all cases, a CE must be performed by a licensed physician or a medical professional being supervised by a licensed physician.
Over the course of a CE, the physician or examiner will ask you questions about your medical history and current complaints. A physical examination will also be conducted. Any specific tests requested by DDS will also be performed. The report generated as a result of the CE will contain details regarding your medical history as well as your treatment history and lab findings. The report will also note the results of the CE physical examination and an estimation regarding your ability to engage in work-related functions. No treatment recommendations will be rendered as a result of the CE as it is only an assessment.
If you are applying for disability benefits based on a mental impairment, which can include conditions such as depression and anxiety, SSA may order a mental status examination (MSE) instead of a CE. An SSE is a psychiatric or psychological consultative exam. The MSE itself will include an intelligence test, such as an IQ test and may also include other neuropsychological tests. The psychiatrist or psychologist performing the MSE will also test your ability to concentrate and follow directions as well as your memory and judgment.
If you are trying to navigate the Social Security disability application process, it can feel like a number of requests such as a request for a CE or MSE crop up along the way. The dedicated team at Roeschke Law is here to help you during what can be a stressful and overwhelming time. Contact us today.