Sunday, August 15, 2010

Social Security Disability Medical Information

Many disability applicants have to attend Social Security disability consultative examinations to receive a medical decision on their disability claim because their medical evidence is to old to be considered current, or they have no medical evidence at all for Social Security to make their medical disability determinations.

Generally, Social Security, for its disability determinations, would like to have a twelve-month medical history of an individual’s disability condition, or conditions, that includes medical treatment information that is less than ninety days old (current medical information).

In the practical world, disability applicants often have no medical treatment information that is current enough for a Social Security medical determination because they have no money or insurance coverage to pay for medical treatment. Disability applicants often have lost their medical coverage and are financially stressed because they have not been able to work.

Which brings us back to situations in which Social Security medical examinations are the only source of current medical information available. In such scenarios, will one of these exams help an individual get approved for disability?

The simple answer to this question is that Social Security medical examinations or consultative examinations rarely help an individual get approved for disability. In fact, one can argue the point that they very often "help" an individual to get denied for disability benefits.

Consultative examinations are, by their very nature, somewhat biased against the disability applicant. They are short cursory examinations performed by physicians whose medical specialty may have nothing to do with the individual’s disability condition, or conditions. Additionally, the examining physician typically knows absolutely nothing about the individual or how their condition or conditions have affected their everyday life. Generally, by contrast, only a treating physician (a physician who has a treatment history with their patient) would actually be in a position to know how an individual is affected by their condition.

Consultative examinations are usually performed to give a disability examiner some kind of current medical information so the examiner can make a disability determination. Many disability applicants are confused and think that they are actually being examined for treatment purposes and that they will finally get needed medical treatment. But, in actuality, most social security exams simply facilitate the closing of a case.

The reports that follow consultative exams are seldom ever used as the basis for an approval and if an individual was considering a disability application, but their recent treatment history was sparse, it would be in their best interest to try to get some kind of current medical treatment even if that was simply a visit to their local hospital, or an income-based medical clinic.

In general terms, medical information that is provided by medical sources outside the Social Security disability process (translation: medical records from doctors who actually have a history of treatment with a claimant) is more helpful to an individual’s disability claim than the medical information received from a consultative examination.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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