When evaluating a disability application from a Clearwater claimant, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may request additional information through a consultative exam. These exams provide SSA with an additional piece of evidence about the disability applicant’s condition and ability to work.
A consultative exam is not a bad thing for the disability application, and in certain cases, it could even help a claimant’s chances. When evaluating an application, the administration has to rely on the totality of evidence. Even if the evaluation results in minimal support for the claimant, the administration cannot rely on this the exam alone and should consider all of the other evidence. However, if a claimant does not have a treatment history, and the only evidence is the exam, it will be a significant determining factor.
Before appearing at the examination, the claimant should be prepared to describe their own medical history and the current status of the impairments and symptoms. The evaluator compiles this information into a written report that will be forwarded to the administration and the claimant’s attorney for evaluation and analysis.
Usually, the evaluator is provided with the applicant’s medical records, so they have an idea of what the medical impairments are and what the claimant is alleging. In addition to receiving some of the medical evidence from the administration, they will also get some of the background information from the initial application.
When a claimant goes to this examination, they will have to provide background information as well. This can include their age, education, and work history. The bulk of the exam, however, should be spent on the claimant’s symptoms and how they impair their ability to work and engage in everyday activities. The information obtained in this exam allows the doctor to confirm what the individual is alleging on their disability application.
An MD or a DO (doctor of osteopathy) can perform a physical consultative exam. In certain evaluations, a doctor may have an assistant help them with the initial part of the evaluation, such as securing a history from the claimant or collecting background information. When it comes to the actual performance of the evaluation, however, it should be conducted by an MD or a DO.
Psychological exams are often conducted by a psychologist with a Ph.D. Usually, the psychologist will use a graduate assistant to help with part of the inquiry on the claimant’s history.
Many primary care physicians do not complete these types of exams. However, the hope is that the claimant’s main physician has documented their complaints and the diagnostic impressions in a way that helps support the claim. Detailed and ongoing examinations completed by a claimant’s primary care physician can have a significant impact on the question of disability. The Administration must evaluate all of the medical evidence in the file, including records from primary care physicians.
Many disability applicants in Clearwater are intimidated by the prospect of a consultative exam, but these evaluations can actually be quite helpful. If the evaluator supports the finding of disability, the exam adds an extra piece of helpful evidence in support of the claim.