When you apply for Social Security disability benefits, Social Security will require you to schedule a consultative exam. The doctor who provides this exam is supposed to give an unbiased opinion about whether you qualify.
However, many of these doctors want to continue to receive referrals from Social Security, possibly making them biased against you. Be wary about what you say because you can’t necessarily trust these disability doctors to be unbiased.
1. Never Be Deceptive About Your Condition
Many people will downplay their symptoms when describing their condition. They may do this to keep up appearances or because they’ve learned to downplay their health to fit in socially.
Whatever reason you might have to minimize your symptoms, this is the absolute worst thing you can do. You need to explain everything you feel and be clear about how it limits your activity.
Conversely, don’t be tempted to exaggerate your condition. Disability doctors are well trained at ferreting out false symptoms or exaggerated conditions. And once they detect a lie, they will be suspicious of anything else you say. Your disability doctor must also inform Social Security if they catch you in any lies.
2. Do Not Reveal that You Have Ignored Doctor’s Orders
Not all treatments work. And sometimes, a prescribed treatment will aggravate a condition rather than mitigate it. When that happens, you are perfectly within your rights to ignore your doctor’s orders — especially if you aren’t able to get new instructions quickly.
However, this is something you never want to tell a disability doctor. Suppose your disability doctor becomes aware that you are ignoring your doctor’s orders. That information will be relayed to Social Security and will be used against you in any disability determination.
3. Avoid Discussing Non-Medical Information with a Disability Doctor
At some point, the Social Security agency will probably delve into your finances, history, and current living arrangements. But this is not information a disability doctor needs to know.
Your disability doctor should not be asking you questions about personal topics not directly related to your disability. And if they are, politely refuse to answer and redirect them back to the exam.
Similarly, try not to reveal limiting aspects of your living arrangement due to your disability.
For example, you shouldn’t tell the disability doctor that your condition prevents you from climbing the stairs in your home or that you’re exhausted by climbing the stairs in your home.
The doctor may note that you could resolve your condition by moving to a new location. Instead, just say that your condition makes it difficult or impossible to climb stairs.
4. Do Not Threaten to Contact a Lawyer
Some disability doctors are not subtle about being biased against you. They may ask very aggressive questions or be obvious about the fact that they doubt the truth of your statements.
If this happens, you might be tempted to threaten to get a lawyer. Don’t do this. This will only make the disability doctor more antagonistic and might create animosity where none exists.
Instead, if you suspect unfair treatment by a disability doctor, the best option is to simply take careful note of everything they do and say. Remain calm, cordial, and honest, but pay close attention.
Once the exam is over, immediately contact an Arizona Social Security disability attorney, like the team at Roeschke Law, LLC in Tempe, AZ. A social security disability lawyer can use the information you carefully recorded to impeach the opinion of the disability doctor and appeal a negative decision by Social Security.