Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Long will it Take for the Social Security Disability Determination After Seeing the Psychologist?

Comments from Tld:

"I have my Psychologist visit the second week of January. I called the Disability Examiner to confirm that I will attend the Psychologist appt. I asked if there is anything else that they are waiting for to make a decision other than the Psychologist report and she said that is all they are waiting for and need. How long will it take for a decision on determination after this?"


First the general information: Typically, consultative examinations are scheduled when there's little left to do on a claim. In most instances, this means that the claimant's past relevant work history has been identified and that the medical records have been received, read, and evaluated. It also usually means that the case file is lacking either A) recent medical record documentation or B) medical record documentation that specifically addresses one or more of your physical or mental conditions. I'd say more often than not, however, that consultative exams are set up to gather some amount of medical evidence, basically a snapshot, that's not older than 90 days. That's typically why I needed to schedule them when I worked as a disability examiner.

How long will it take get a disability determination after the exam, which in your case was a psychological exam? That depends on a few variables.

The psychologist who conducted your exam, and any consultative examiner for that matter, has 10 business days in which to submit a report to the disability determination services agency where the disability examiner is based. So, we're talking approximately two weeks. However, not every consultative examiner is timely, so it may be as long as three weeks.

Then, you have to factor in how backed up the disability examiner is. If the examiner is exceptionally loaded down with cases, it could be a few days before he or she even looks at the file, even after the CE report is in. I would say that this is not usually what happens, however, because...disability examiners have every incentive to get cases off their desk. And cases that have all the needed records associated with them are ideal for this purpose.

But, then, there is the matter of getting the case "out of the agency". In most instances, the disability examiner will be required to run the case by a unit medical consultant and/or a unit psychological consultant before the case can finally be decided. And even after that point the case will need to be reviewed by the disability examiner's unit supervisor or unit assistant supervisor. long does it take to get a disability determination after you've gone to a psychological exam? I'd say roughly three weeks if you count the time it takes to get the psychological exam report and then wait on the examiner and his or her unit's various personnel to do their associated jobs. Keep in mind, however, that in a few cases it may a week less than this if everything goes along very smoothly.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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Drawing Social Security Disability Benefits for a medical or mental condition
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Social Security Disability SSI Tips Advice Answers to Questions
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How to get Approved for Disability Benefits - Information on disability claims
Social Security Disability Qualifications
Social Security Disability Requirements



Blogger tld said...

I went to my Psychologist exam and it was only 25 minutes. He had a checklist of questions about my relationships with people, asking to recall words he said earlier, counting backwards, what I did that I cannot do now besides work. He did not ask me about the pain I suffer from nor did we review my medical reports. I thought this appeared very quickly, so I'm not sure what the outcome will be. I only hope that the decision will be based on the six inch thick notebook I provided with detailed medical reports.

I have a question, I also provided documentation that my Doctor completed that put me off work on Short Term Disability (before losing my job) showing my limitations of not being able to work due to the pain, side effects of medications, and treatment plans. Will that help on
having my claim approved? Or will that not make much of a difference?

3:43 PM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...


It may. From the social security administration's standpoint, the best medical record documentation is that which shows your functional limitations. This enables a disability adjudicator to render a more accurate residual functional capacity rating for you and also facilitates a determination of whether or not you can be expected to return to your past work, or perform some type of other work. So, to answer the question, this information you provided may be helpful. Just keep in mind that the degree of usefulness may depend on how detailed your physician's provided information is, and how recent the statement of your physician's opinion was. Though older records are useful, social security places a premium on recent medical evidence for the purpose of determining whether or not you are currently disabled.

4:11 AM  
Blogger tld said...

I know you mentioned it could be up to two-three weeks for a decision, however, I was wondering when would be a good time to follow up on the on claims after the Psychologist exam (it has only be one week so far)? The disability Examiner said that was the only thing needed.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...


Honestly, I wouldn't see any real point to following up any sooner than three or four weeks. For one thing, it might take that long or longer for the examiner to get a decision on the case. Secondly, if you call to followup, he or she won't be able to tell you much if a decision has not been made.

And even if a decision is made, all they will be able to tell you is that...a decision has been made. They are not allowed to reveal what the decision is (because once the case leaves their hands, the decision can potentially be changed by someone else reviewing the case. In other words, examiners are not always the final word on a case).

Also, if the examiner hasn't received the consultative exam report, their only answer will be that they haven't gotten it. If they have received the CE report but haven't closed the file, all they can say is that the case is still pending. So, for all these reasons, I probably wouldn't call before three or four weeks.

7:15 AM  
Blogger tld said...

I followed up today and the Disability Examiner said that my case is in the queue for both the unit medical consultant and unit psychological consultant. She said that they are backed up and it could 30 days then she will get it back and complete the write up and submit to the field office where they will send me a letter.

I just noticed something tonight though....all my Medical Documentation and my report show my diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), however, I just found out that the Blue Book 11.14 Peripheral neuropathies (which is the technical term for TN). Will the Disability Examiner and Unit Medical Consultant know this? Or should I contact her and let her know this? Or is it too late since it is now in the queue?

6:21 PM  
Blogger tld said...

Not sure if you saw my questions...I just noticed something...all my Medical Documentation and my report show my diagnosis of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN), however, I just found out that the Blue Book 11.14 Peripheral neuropathies (which is the technical term for TN). Will the Disability Examiner and Unit Medical Consultant know this? Or should I contact her and let her know this? Or is it too late since it is now in the Unit Medical queue?

5:25 AM  
Blogger Disability Blogger said...

Tld, I responded here: What if the Disability Examiner is Unfamiliar with my Medical Condition?

8:29 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I filed for disability for my father online on a saturday. That following monday, 2 days later we recieved a call from our local office and 3 days after that they called and said we was approved for full disability and will recieve his 1st check in 3 weeks. in all we waited less than 1 week for approval. though his condition warrants their "quick approval" stage iv lung cancer. Good luck everyone sometimes it does work out!

8:05 AM  

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