Charlotte disability lawyers explain “consultative examinations”

Your Charlotte disability lawyer can advise you on the options. Here is some info that can help direct you toward your next course of action.

In determining your eligibility for benefits, the Social Security Administration may ask that you submit to a "consultative examination." A consultative examination is a physical or mental examination that generally is conducted by a doctor designated by the state agency that makes initial medical determinations for Social Security (the North Carolina Disability Determination Services (DDS)). Sometimes, if both your doctor and the DDS agree, your doctor may serve as the consultative examiner. A consultative examination may be required if, for example:

  • Your medical records are incomplete.
  • Your medical records are illegible.
  • Your medical records are non-existent (i.e., your doctor did not submit requested records or did not complete the questionnaire sent to him or her by the DDS).
  • Your diagnosis is inconclusive or was made by a doctor who is not a specialist in that particular field.

After the examination, the doctor will submit a report to the DDS and offer his or her opinion as to whether you are disabled under the law. This opinion will be one factor considered by DDS in making its disability determination.

If you are asked to submit to a consultative examination, you should:

  • Ask if your doctor can serve as the consultative examiner.
  • Bring a family member or friend with you, and have this person go into the examination room with you.
  • Arrive early, and wait patiently for your appointment.
  • Wear a watch. Make a note of when the examination is scheduled to begin, when it actually begins, and when it ends. If the doctor leaves the examination room at any time, note the time the doctor leaves and returns.
  • Behave in a courteous and professional manner at all times.
  • Ask for a copy of the doctor's report.
  • Take a few moments, immediately after the examination, to memorialize your thoughts about the examination, in writing. For example, was the examination thorough? Was it complete? Did the doctor behave in a professional manner? Was the doctor focused on determining the nature and extent of your impairment?

Your Charlotte disability lawyer can provide additional guidance regarding the consultative examination process. If you are not currently represented by a Charlotte disability lawyer, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss your case. Please contact us for an initial consultation.