How Many Medical Tests Do I Need?

Artwork: Robin Mead

If you are applying for disability (or already on disability) you may considering how much time, money, energy, and spoons to invest in medical tests. So, how many tests do you need? It depends why you are taking tests:

“I’m Applying for Social Security Disability”

If you are applying for Social Security Disability, one or two tests with abnormal outcomes is often enough. If you are applying for more than one condition, than one test with abnormal outcomes for each condition can be a big help.

Test results on their own may be that meaningful. Ideally, your test results will come with a report from a doctor including their medical opinion. Another options is if test results are included in an RFC form or a doctor’s medical opinion letter.

For Social Security, you are unlikely to get approved based solely on testing. They will also consider your ongoing medical records, plus they will look for proof that you cannot function.

“I’m Applying for Employer Disability”

If you are applying for Long Term Disability (disability through your employer), many people report that testing was important in their approvals. Some people get multiple tests and some people pay money or fly to different states so they can be tested by someone with expertise in their condition. Of course, this is not true for everyone. Some people do get approved without a lot of tests. In some cases, people try to avoid testing that could be interpreted as a mental health diagnosis (learn more).

“I’m Already on Social Security Disability”

Most people find that it is not necessary to do more testing, (unless they want testing for personal health reasons). Most people who are still disabled find that they pass reviews if they are in regular treatment and their doctor’s records continue to show that their condition has not improved. Learn more about Continuing Disability Reviews.

“I’m Already on Employer Disability”

For Long Term Disability, it may depend on your disability insurance company. Some people continue to get retested during reviews.

“The disability reviewer sent me for tests. Does that count?”

Always try to get your own tests done if at all possible. Do not rely on the doctors Social Security or Long Term Disability sends you to. Reports from these doctors are sometimes inaccurate or unhelpful. It is much better to also have your own testing done by a doctor you select, if you are able.

“How do I know if my test results are ‘good enough’?”

If your doctor thinks they are good enough, Social Security will usually accept your doctor’s medical opinion. However, Social Security is unlikely to approve you based solely on tests. Please don’t get overly focused on testing, as there are many other things you can also do to strengthen your application. Learn more about other ways to improve your disability application.

“How do I know if my blood work results are ‘good enough’?”

Social Security wants to see that you are unable to function and work. It is kinda difficult to prove that with blood work. If you have abnormal blood work, it is super helpful if your doctor specifically mentions these results in an RFC function form or a doctor’s letter about functioning. If your doctor uses these test results to form a medical opinion, Social Security will often accept your doctor’s medical opinion.

Finding Tests

If you have ME, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme, Fibromyalgia, or a related condition, and you are looking for more tests to take, please check out: How to Get  Medical Tests While Applying for Disability


1 thought on “How Many Medical Tests Do I Need?”

  1. This site has been an invaluable resource to me, the information about SSDI, state benefits, medical related benefits, etc. One of the best resources I have found, bar none.


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