The majority of people that apply for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits will be scheduled to attend medical examinations known as Consultative Examinations or “CE” exams during the processing of their claim. The CE exam will be scheduled by the State Bureau of Disability Determination Services. If you have applied for SSD or SSI benefits based on physical limitations, you will be scheduled for a CE to evaluate your physical condition. If you have applied for benefits due to mental health impairments, you will be scheduled to attend a psychiatric or psychological CE. If you have made application for benefits due to both physical and mental limitations, you will be scheduled to attend both a physical and a mental CE.
The CE exam will be conducted by an independent doctor that is contracted by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to perform these types of exams. Currently, these cases are being scheduled by a company known as the IMA group. When is it time for a CE exam to be scheduled in your SSD or SSI case, you will receive a notice from IMA which will provide you with the date and time of your CE exam. It is very important that you show up to your CE exam on time on the day and time scheduled. If you fail to show up for your CE or show up late, the doctor will not be able to evaluate your conditions and SSA can close your case for non-compliance.
You should know that the CE is not for purposes of medical treatment, but rather to provide SSA with a brief overview of your disabling conditions and related limitations. You can expect both the physical and mental CE’s to be brief, usually lasting no more than 10-20 minutes. You should come to CE prepared to tell the doctor about the physical and mental conditions that you suffer from, along with any symptoms and limitations from your conditions that you feel keep you from being able to work full time.