Signs That You Have Good Chances To Be Approved For Disability
How Social Security Uses The Mental Exam Results
After receiving the report from your consultative examination, the Social Security claims examiner will generally do one of two things:
- order additional testing or evaluation.
The claims examiner will consider the mental examination report along with the rest of your record when . Although all your medical records will have an impact on your claim, Social Security tends to put a lot of weight on the results of a mental consultative examination.
If Social Security denies your claim for disability benefits because of a consultative examination report , you have the right to appeal.
|Take our disability quiz to help you determine whether you qualify for benefits.|
What Is A Ce Exam
A Consultative Exam, or CE, is a medical examination designed toprovide more information to your examiner before deciding your Social Security disability case. The first thing to understand about the CE exam is you shouldnt panic. These exams are quite common requirements among people who apply for Social Security Disability benefits or for Supplemental Security Income . These exams may be physical, psychological, or psychiatric, depending on the nature of your Social Security claim.
Those who claim a severe back injury that limits their mobility, for example, may have to take a physical exam. Those who claim cognitive problems, such as difficulty parsing facts after a traumatic brain injury, may need a psychological evaluation. Those who claim mood disorders, such as severe anxiety or depression, may need a psychiatric evaluation. These are just a few basic examples, however. Your specific disability and SSD/SSI application will indicate the kind of exam you may need.
Also Check: How To Freeze My Social Security Number
What Is An Ssi/ssd Psychological Exam
As its name suggests, an SSI/SSD psychological exam is essentially a mental consultative test that will allow professional examiners to better understand your condition. Since many individuals do not have a medical history in regard to mental health disorders, an exam is typically required.
In 2013 alone, the Social Security Administration received approximately 2.6 million applications for SSD and 1.6 million applications for SSI and the overall disability determination process is the same for both.
Remember, having a mental health disorder does not necessarily equate to a disability. The SSA defines a disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity in this case, due to mental impairments, for a continuous period that is no less than 12 months.
The exam itself is generally administered by a physician, psychologist, or psychiatrist, who have no affiliation with the SSA in terms of employment. This helps to ensure that no bias is made and that a more accurate professional opinion is made.
Disability Approval Or Denial And Drug Or Alcohol Use
When you apply for benefits, you commit to being honest in your application and all other interactions with the SSA and its representatives. Even if you do not disclose substance use, the SSA may discover it, and if they find you were dishonest, you can be denied benefits on that fact alone.
In some cases, drug or alcohol use is part of a disabling condition. For example, many individuals with mental illnesses self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. That being said, even in cases like these, current use can cause a claim to be denied, particularly if the applicant wouldnt be disabled if it werent for the use of a controlled or illegal substance.
You May Like: Can You Open Bank Account Without Social Security Number
Tips On How To Pass The Social Security Mental Exam
How you handle the Social Security mental exam can affect the outcome of your disability claim. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare for your exam and once you’re there:
- Answer all the questions. The disability mental exam questions are designed to give the examiner a clear picture of your mental health. So it’s important that you answer all the questions as accurately as you can. It’s okay to take a moment to think about the question before answering.
- Be specific. It’s not enough to tell the examiner that you’re depressed . You need to describe your symptoms using language that will give the examiner a clear understanding of your situation. For example, if you suffer from depression, you’ll want to describe your symptoms using terms like:
- no energy or enthusiasm
- thoughts of death or suicide
- difficulty concentrating, or
- trouble sleeping .
How Long Does It Take For A Decision To Be Made On Disability
The social security takes a case-by-case approach when reviewing applications for disability. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to eligibility for benefits. However, the social security administration aims to decide on all applications within three to four months. If your application is more complex, it may take longer to make a decision.
Don’t Miss: Social Security Office In Poteau Oklahoma
Why Should I Document My Impairment Outside Of The Ce Exam
Any time youre seriously injured, its important to document your impairment with as much detail as possible. The more evidence you can provide, the better chance you will have to get your claim for Social Security benefits approved. In fact, if you document it well enough, you may not even need to undergo a CE Exam.
From the moment you get injured, keep detailed records of everything that happens to you, including:
· Doctors visits
· Devices you have to use, such as canes, walkers, and hearing aids
· Physical or occupational therapy visits, treatments, and progress
· The manner in which your impairment affects your life
· Any emotional problems you experience, such as difficulty maintaining relationships, mood swings, depression, panic attacks, and other mental health issues
· Any progress and setbacks you experience
Your notes should include receipts and after-visit summaries physician and specialist visits, medication receipts and records, and all official paperwork. You should also keep a detailed journal of your experiences and the difficulties you face. The more information you have and the more detail you can provide, the more prepared youll be for the application process. This way, if you are denied, you can give your attorney a head start on building a case to help you challenge the denial.
Tip #: Understand That Your Exam May Be Short Or Long
You have may read about other peoples experiences, but these should not be used as a point of reference. Although they can give you a rough idea, the total examination time will vary from one person to the next.
For example, one individual may be done in 25 minutes, whereas another individual may be in an exam for 2.5 hours. Basically, go into the exam understanding that youre a unique individual with a unique claim, avoiding any sort of rigid thought process.
You May Like: How Long Does It Take To Get Social Security Disability
Where Can You Turn For Guidance About The Disability Benefits Application Process
Social Security can provide you with reliable information about how the SSD application process works and what to expect along the way. An attorney can help you understand the many pitfalls that applicants make that result in denials of their application for benefits so that you can minimize the chances of the same happening to you here in Ohio.
Explain Your Pain And Mental Symptoms To The Consultative Examiner
The examination is your opportunity to describe your pain and how it limits you. If you do not tell the doctor what is wrong, there is no way for the doctor to write a favorable report. The same is true for a mental examination. If you see a psychiatrist or psychologist, tell them about your symptoms of depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Or, if you have any other mental condition, then explain your symptoms to the doctor.
Tell them if you have panic attacks from anxiety. Also, tell them about your inability to concentrate and memory problems. You should tell the doctor how your mental impairments prevent you from performing normal activities of daily living. For example, if you have memory problems, you may forget to the pay your bills. Or, family members may need to remind you to do so.
If you have physical impairments, you may need help showering, doing laundry, or cooking. If you have trouble walking and need a cane or walker, then bring it and use it at the examination. It is important to talk about and show your limitations at the Consultative Examination.
Recommended Reading: Social Security Office On Terry Parkway
Guide To Social Security Disability Exam Questions
We Fight for Injured Victims in Arkansas Every Single Day
As part of applying for Social Security Disability , you may be asked to participate in a Social Security examination. These exams are performed by doctors on behalf of the Social Security Administration to verify your condition. Many people may be nervous about what the exam entails and how they should act. This guide, provided by Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, is intended to help answer some questions and relieve some of the stress. If you need a Social Security attorney in Arkansas, Ken Kieklak might be able to help. Ken Kieklak is here to discuss Social Security Disability exam questions an applicant may face.
Medical History Of The Claimant
Next, the claimant must provide medical records or other documents that were submitted when the claimant underwent the examination. As mentioned, the SSA will likely require that you are examined by a medical practitioner of their choice to help determine the severity of your disability. The results of this examination will be used by the SSA when carrying out the CE.
Additionally, the SSA may also require an applicant to submit information about any medical experts being utilized to prove their case.
When submitting past and current medical history, the applicant should focus on the following factors:
- The date of diagnosis and progression of the disability
- The signs and symptoms the applicant frequently contends with as a result of the disability
- Treatments are undertaken to manage the disability
- The daily activities of the applicant
The doctors performing your CE understand what information they already have and what information they still need . This means you should answer their questions honestly and fully but this does not necessarily mean you should volunteer extra information. Talking to an attorney about your exam before you go in can help you more fully understand what to expect.
Also Check: Is Social Security Tax Free
Never Say: I Have Never Used Drugs Or Alcohol In My Life
If that statement is true, then of course it is fine to say. But if you have used it, and you are asked about it, dont lie.
On one hand, the word never is hard to believe: is not a credible one. On the other hand, if you say you havent used drugs or alcohol in the past, but the opposite is mentioned in the medical history diagnostic reports, then you have just ruined your credibility with the judge. The best thing you can do in this situation is to tell the absolute truth. If a judge catches you in a lie, then you can bet your case will be denied.
Depending on the severity of your drug and alcohol use, your attorney may be able to neutralize the situation. This is something you should talk to the lawyers in a pre-hearing stage, so we can assess the situation and decide whats the best way to handle it.
Can I Have A Disability Attorney Fight The Results Of A Ce Exam
The first thing to understand is your attorney wont be challenging the results of your CE exam, since the exam itself was just one small part of your claim review. Instead, they will be using the incomplete nature and conclusions of the exam to challenge a Social Security denial after a CE exam. In fact, you may not even know the results of your CE exam until after you are denied benefits and you request a copy of your file.
This is a subtle, but important, distinction. Your end goal is to get benefits, and to do this youll need to file an appeal to get your case reconsidered. There arefour different levels of appeal that your attorney can pursue after you are denied. These four levels include:
The first three levels can be requested online. The fourth, the Federal court review, is more complex.
Recommended Reading: How To Find Someone By Social Security Number
What Should I Say At My Disability Hearing
Explain what prevents you from working. The better answer to the question, Why cant you work? would be one that explains what physical and/or mental conditions are preventing you from completing job tasks.
Oftentimes individuals with physical or mental conditions push themselves to continue working, which leads them to being fired or let go because they are not capable of completing the required tasks.
At your hearing you must be honest about whether you were fired or let go from your last job. Why? Because that fact itself is supportive evidence for your inability to maintain employment on a regular and consistent basis. And thats what you should focus on during your hearing: yes, you were let go from your job and even if you were given another position tomorrow you would not be able to complete the job due to x, y and z.
If you are not sure about something, dont feel pressured to say something fast and accurate. Precisely, if you are not sure, you wont be accurate at all, and that may lead you to lose your credibility. Remember that you can always be honest and express that you are nervous because you are in a courtroom.
What Is The Social Security Consultative Examination
The Social Security Exam often referred to as the Consultative Examination , is used to help determine whether an applicant for Social Security Disability Insurance should be approved. In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must have a disability. The SSA has a very particular definition of disability that states a person must be unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental illness. The SSA will also consider the following factors when determining whether a person has a disability:
- Whether an applicant is able to work despite their condition
- Whether the applicant has a qualifying condition acknowledged by the SSA or similar to an illness listed by the SSA
- Your condition is expected to last for at least one year or lead to your death.
Due to the risk of applicants faking conditions, exaggerating their inability to perform SGA, and committing Social Security fraud is very real, the SSA is very cautious in accepting applicants. Often, applicants will need to submit forms explaining their condition and their day-to-day abilities and will need these verified by a third party. This may mean that a doctor, therapist, or caregiver needs to submit information about your condition and abilities before the SSA will approve SSD payments.
Also Check: Can I Get Va Pension And Social Security
Get Ready For Your Mental Health Disability Exam
When Social Security requires you to have a mental health exam for your disability claim, you can be sure the results of the exam will have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Because of the exam’s importance to your claim, you’ll want to do everything you can to prepare for it.
Understanding how the Social Security disability mental evaluation process works is an important step. Getting your information together ahead of your appointment is another.
You might also consider talking with a disability lawyer before your mental health disability exam. A legal professional can help you prepare and ensure you don’t forget to mention anything the examiner needs to know about you and how your mental health affects your ability to work.