Saturday, September 09, 2006

Social Security Disability Doctors

There seems to be a fair amount of confusion regarding the subject of social security doctors. And, typically, this confusion concerns physicians who perform independent medical exams for the social security administration (known as CE, or consultative examinations).

Claimants who have filed for either social security disability or SSI disability benefits are often sent to consultative medical examinations, typically for the purpose of gathering additional medical record documentation, especially documentation that is recent. In other words, if you apply for disability but haven't been to a doctor for quite some time, you can expect to be sent to such an examination.

Consultative medical exams (often referred to as social security medical exams) are not performed by social security doctors, per se. They are actually conducted by independent physicians who have agreed to perform examinations in exchange for compensation. What can you expect at a social security medical examination? Generally, you can expect that the exam will be fairly short and, from most accounts, that the examining physician will know little about your case and may even be rude (I've heard this complaint several hundred times in the last few years).

Is there such a thing as social security doctors? Yes. These are the physicians who work in conjunction with disability examiners on initial social security disability and SSI claims. What exactly is their function? Well, after a disability examiner has gathered all the medical evidence that he or she feels is necessary in order to make a decision, the examiner will do a writeup, basically a synopsis of the medical evidence that leads to a conclusion: an approval or denial).

This writeup is then reviewed by a physician who is part of the examiner's unit and who provides medical consultation. If the claimant has mental allegations (for example, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, major depression), then the examiner will do a separate writeup and this writeup will be reviewed by the examiner's psychological consultant (usually, this is a PH.D. level psychologist).

Technically, these "social security doctors" are consultants. However, this is not entirely accurate as these doctors can easily override a disability examiner if their own opinion does not coincide with the disability examiner's opinion.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Can you afford a lawyer for a social security disability claim?
Social Security Disability and the two year waiting period for Medicare Benefits
Apply for disability
Disability denied
Disability Mental - Disability