Despite their claims to the contrary, disability doctors are not your friends. They are not there to help you with your disability claim. Rather, most of them are keen on proving that you are not disabled.
Remember, the SSA is paying them and that should tell you pretty much about where their loyalties lie. Besides, you won’t probably see them after the consultative examination (CE). So, you can’t expect them to care about you or the outcome of your claim.
As such, it’s highly recommended that you go to your disability exam prepared. Come early, dress properly, and bring your medical records. The findings and notes from your treating physician may also help the examiner figure out your exact medical condition.
Most importantly, keep your calm and choose your words. You can’t just tell them whatever you want. There are things you should never tell your disability doctor if you want to get a favorable disability decision.
What Not To Tell Disability Doctors
Disability doctors will note what you say and do during the exam. These notes will be passed on to your disability examiner and may affect your disability determination. So it pays to be extra careful about what you tell them.
Here’s what not to tell a disability doctor:
1. I’m Fine
When someone asks us how we’re doing, most of the time our automatic response would be “I’m fine” even if we’re not. Many disability claimants make that mistake with their CE doctors too.
It’s alright to say you’re not fine because it’s true. You are suffering from a disability and you cannot work. If you tell the doctor you’re fine, they might think that your disability is not that serious.
If you’re in pain or are having a hard time walking, tell them that. Wanting to appear tough is fine but not when you’re talking to a disability doctor. Just be honest about what you really are going through but don’t tell them your entire life story. They are not your therapist.
2. It Doesn’t Hurt.
As part of your disability exam, the examining physician may poke some parts of your body to see your reaction. Like if you are claiming that a leg injury is giving you so much pain that it prevents you from working. The doctor may prod that injured leg to assess how much pain you’re feeling. They may then ask you if it hurts.
Again, as humans, we have that urge to appear tough. Thus, some claimants would reply with “it doesn’t hurt” or “not really”. This is a huge mistake. If you make them believe that it’s not that painful, then it will look like you’re lying on your disability claim.
3. I’m Dying.
Yes, you should be honest about your medical condition but never exaggerate it. Telling the doctor you’re dying when you, in fact, are not will affect your credibility. Remember that the consultative exam will only last 15 to 30 minutes at most. So you only have a limited time to convince the doctor that you are disabled. If you appear to be untrustworthy, the doctor may doubt everything else you’re claiming. And that might make it harder to persuade them otherwise.
4. I Can’t Do It.
When the disability doctor asks you to do something, the worst thing you can do is flat out refuse. Not only will you come off as uncooperative and arrogant, but it’s also downright rude. Tell them you’ll try and really do but make sure you don’t compromise your health by doing so. If you can’t do what they’re asking you to, at least you tried. And it will also give them a good idea of the extent of your disability.
5. I Don’t Trust Doctors.
This is the last thing any doctor would want to hear, not just disability doctors. Unfortunately, many disability claimants panic during the examination and become a little too vocal with their opinions. It may be true but telling it to your disability doctor’s face will definitely not help your case. Remember, you’re trying to gain their trust. But how can they trust you when they know you don’t trust them?
Is It a Good Sign When the SSA Sends You to a Doctor?
Not everyone with a social security disability claim will be required to undergo a consultative exam. Most of the time, the SSA will send you to a disability doctor if:
- your medical evidence isn’t enough to prove your disability
- you have not seen your treating doctor for a long time
- there’s doubt that your condition is disabling enough to warrant a disability benefit
- your residual functional capacity needs to be assessed
Being required to do a CE exam isn’t necessarily a good or bad sign. As mentioned above, there are many different reasons why you’d be required to. It can be because the SSA doubts your claim. It can also be because they’re planning to release your SSDI benefits. Or maybe they just want to assess your condition.
Whatever the case may be, convincing the disability doctor will take you a step closer to your SSI or SSDI benefits. And that’s a good sign.
Do CE Exams Usually Result in a Denial?
There are no actual statistics of how many claims get approved or denied following a CE exam. But it’s a well-known fact that more than half of all initial disability applications get denied. So if you get scheduled for a consultative examination, it means the SSA is still working on your claim and it’s not yet denied.
Contrary to popular belief, a CE exam is not necessarily bad for your disability case. On the contrary, it might even help speed up your claim.
For one, it’s a good source of medical proof. As you know, getting medical treatment is expensive, especially if you can’t work because of your disability. Without it, it’s difficult to acquire proof of your medical condition or even a record of your medical history. If you attend a CE exam, you can get that medical evidence for free. Plus, the doctor is accredited by the SSA so their opinion most likely has greater weight than other doctors.
Should You Hire a Disability Attorney?
Getting approved for a social security disability benefit is not a walk in the park. Having scant medical evidence will only make it a lot more difficult. But with an experienced disability attorney like Victor Malca by your side, you’ll have a higher chance of getting your claim approved. Attorney Malca has already helped thousands of injured workers in Florida get the benefits they deserve. He can help you get yours too. Call us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
Book a free consultation today. Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.