If you’ve anxiously been waiting for a decision on your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim, it can be frustrating to get a letter telling you only that the state agency charged with making the decision now wants you to see another doctor for something called a “consultative exam.”
Consider this a sign of progress. The fact that the Social Security Administration (SSA) wants a consultative exam means that your claim has at least reached someone’s desk and is actively being worked.
The SSA will schedule and pay for your consultative exam and any tests that are ordered. A consultative exam is purely designed to evaluate your condition. Its purpose is not to provide you with treatment, so it’s important to understand that and have the appropriate expectations going in.
So, why are you being sent to a strange doctor for an exam? When a consultative exam is scheduled, it generally means one of the following things:
- Your regular doctor didn’t complete the paperwork that the SSA sent. That likely included an assement of your residual functioning capacity — a statement regarding the limitations you experience because of your physical or mental conditions.
- Your regular doctor either declined to do the additional assessment that the SSA wanted or the agency doesn’t think that your doctor is the appropriate person to do the exam.
- There are conflicting reports or information is in your medical records from your regular doctor that is inconsistent, which is the cause for the consultative exam in the first place.
- The SSA has previously found your regular physician to be unreliable or unproductive.
Consultative exams are also frequently done when the SSA simply needs updated information and you haven’t seen a doctor for a while.
If you’re struggling to get your Social Security Disability claim approved, it might be time to consider some experienced assistance.