Relying on a Consultative Exam for Proof of Your Disability

Many Social Security Disability claimants assume that their consultative exam (CE) will be enough to qualify them for Social Security Disability benefits. After a CE, the SSA will still need to make a decision on if you qualify for SSDI and/or SSI. Many think even if the doctor says you’re disabled, the Social Security Administration ought to agree with their assessment. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case.

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you need to clearly demonstrate that you are disabled to the point that you can no longer reasonably be expected to continue doing any type of work that you have ever done (especially during the past 15 years). Beyond that, the Social Security Administration must determine that you could not reasonably be expected to learn any kind of job that is available to people of your educational and experience level anywhere in the country.

This isn't the only difficulty, of course. The process itself can get complicated and frustrating. This is why it can be very helpful to hire a Social Security Disability attorney to walk you through this process and help you get the benefits you deserve.


Your consultation with a doctor, whether your own doctor or one who is appointed by the Social Security Administration, will give a proper medical opinion on your disabling condition. However, the problem that many claimants face is that a medical prognosis usually fails to outline exactly what kinds of activities you can or cannot continue to do with your particular condition.

In some cases, your medical evaluation will provide a diagnosis that meets a Social Security Disability listing by itself. In such cases, the consultative examination may prove sufficient.

However, more often than not, the medical evaluation will not provide the kinds of details the SSA adjudicators need to see before they can approve your Social Security Disability claim.

Remember, Social Security adjudicators are not doctors. They don’t make real judgment calls unless their guidelines specifically address that situation. What they need to see is how your condition limits your ability to walk, stand, sit, push, pull, lift, interact with others, and perform other activities that are important in the workplace.

Why Documentation Matters

When it comes to medical documentation for your Social Security Disability claim, more is definitely better. You will want as much information about your disabling conditions as you can put together, complete with a full analysis of how these conditions limit you.

It’s also a good idea to be able to demonstrate that you have been following a doctor’s orders and that your condition has failed to improve sufficiently enough to allow you to perform meaningful work. In many cases, SSA adjudicators can’t approve claims if the disabled person has not complied with a doctor’s instructions.

The best way to make sure that you have sufficient medical documentation and to ensure that the documentation is filled out in such a way that the Social Security Administration will approve your claim is to have an experienced Social Security Disability attorney or advocate review your claim before you turn it in to the Social Security Administration.

How Disability Attorneys Can Help

Disability lawyers work with disability claims on a regular basis, and are thoroughly familiar with the SSA’s procedures and requirements. In many cases, they can communicate directly with your doctor to make sure that your diagnosis is stated in a manner that will satisfy the SSA’s requirements for approving disability benefits.

In some cases, the SSA may require proof of some diagnoses. Often, there are specific test results that must accompany a disability claim in order for the SSA to approve benefits based on a particular condition. Again, your Social Security Disability lawyer will be familiar with these requirements and can make sure that everything is in order before you file your claim, potentially saving you several months of frustration.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your consultative exam will give you enough proof of your disability. Have a professional look your claim over and advise you regarding whether you will need more or different kinds of medical proof before you file. They can also tell you about other common disability mistakes and help you avoid them or help fix any you may have made.

Contact An Attorney Today

Having an attorney on your side can make this part of the process easier to navigate and may be more likely to result in you getting the benefits that you need. Contact an attorney today to find someone who will advocate on your behalf and give you some peace of mind during this confusing, exhausting time.