Why Do I Have to See a Social Security Doctor to Get Social Security Benefits, part 2

October 13, 2011

As Discussed in Part 1 of this blog, the Social Security Administration often schedules medical examinations for disabled individuals who have applied for Supplemental Security Income [SSI] and Social Security Disability Income [SSDI] benefits.

The medical exams, referred to as "consultative examinations" by Social Security, are paid for by the Social Security Administration but are supposed to be unbiased. While there are few cases where an individual might be advised to refuse to attend an examination, typically Social Security will flat out deny your claim if you fail to attend the consultative examination without a good cause.

If you attend the examination, there are several things that you should expect or at least anticipate:

  1. Be mindful you are being observed. The Doctor and doctor's staff may be watching you from the second that you get out of your car until the second you get back in it to go home. I have personally read numerous reports where the doctor makes a note that a claimant got of their car and walked to the office door without any problem but then began holding his or her back or limping the second that they walked into the door of the docotr's office. The doctor's report might note that a claimant was seen laughing on the phone but then became shy or tearful when entering the doctor's office.

  2. Be honest. "Malingering" is the medical term for person who is believed to be exaggerating his or her symptoms. While some of us believe that the term is being misused or overused, the key is not to give the doctor any reason to write down you could be malingering.

  3. Tell the doctor everything. Social Security is supposed to provide the doctor with a copy of all relevant records and documents, but most of the time, the doctors have not reviewed anything. Therefore, you must tell the doctor everything. Remember this: doctors will write down almost anything you tell them but they cannot write anything if you don't tell them it. Example if you walk in and the doctor asks how you are doing and you reply "I'm doing fine," the doctor will write down "the patient is doing fine" even though you are in pain or having other symptoms because you did not say this.