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Consultative Medical Exams: What You Should Know

If the examiner handling your disability claim wants you to undergo a consultative medical exam, it may be in your best interest to do so.  Keep in mind, however, that being asked to undergo a consultative medical exam doesn’t necessarily mean that your examiner does not believe you have a genuine claim for benefits.  It may simply mean that they want more information about your condition.

Typically, a consultative medical exam is very brief, and is performed by a doctor who is paid by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to conduct your exam. These doctors do not work for SSA, but are contracted by the agency to perform these services. You might find that the doctor in charge of your consultative medical exam is very brief, and even possibly curt with you. It’s not uncommon for patients to be bewildered at the rudeness that they encounter from the physician performing their consultative medical exam. Don’t take it personally. The fact is that you are not an ongoing patient of the doctor and therefore, he or she may not feel the need to be particularly cordial or expansive in their explanations.

Also, remember that the doctor will be looking for signs that your condition is not as medically impairing as you’ve claimed it to be.  If you walk into the doctor’s office with a limp, don’t be surprised to find him peeking from behind curtains to make sure that you’re not walking back to the car with a spring in your step.

Please also note that the consultative medical exam is often ordered in those cases in which the examiner feels that the amount of evidence submitted is not sufficient.  For example, if you have not offered sufficient evidence of having undergone treatment over a prolonged period of time, or having visited the doctor frequently, you might find yourself asked to undergo a medical exam like this.

A skilled disability lawyer can help answer questions about what to expect during a consultative medical exam, as well as prepare you for the time you will spend with the doctor.