How To Prep for the CE


Artist Robin Mead 

The CE Exam is a visit with the Social Security doctor. If Social Security would like you to go to an CE, they will write you a letter and let you know when and where. You can learn all about how CE exams work and what happens at an exam here: How To Hang with the Social Security Doctor

You do not have to do anything special to get ready for the CE. If you are the kind of person who likes to prepare, there are a few things you do to help things go well:

Make a List

It may help you to bring a list with you. This can help you make sure you don’t forget anything important. If the doctor asks you these questions, you can read the list, or you can hand them the list:

  • Your current symptoms
  • Hospitalizations and procedures (bonus points: where, when)
  • Important past illnesses or injuries
  • Current medications (bonus points: dose, frequency)
  • List of side effects from each medication
  • Tests, exams, assessments (bonus points: when, where, findings)

Some people with memory problems said the doctor let their family member come in with them and answer these questions.

Bring Stuff With You

🌺 If you have a strong medical summary letter, psychological assessment or RFC function form from your own doctor, bring it a copy with you and hand it directly to the doctor (not to the intake person) to read and keep. She may or may not read it. If she does read it, that can be a huge help.

🌺 If you have made an outline of your medical history, you can also bring this to give to the doctor. If you get lucky, the doctor might use some of your outline in her report!

🌺 Readers report that most CE doctors do not appreciate being handed a big medical file. If you have a form or letter from your doctor that is 1-2 pages this may be better received. You can also let them know other records you brought if they are interested to see them.

🌺 There is a good chance that Social Security has not sent this doctor all (or maybe any) of your medical records. If you wish, you can also bring copies of your medical records and test results to have on hand, in case the doctor wants to see them. Some CE doctors really appreciate this, while others just ignore anything you try to bring.

🌺 Do not assume that the doctor will have access to your other records or will read your medical records. Many readers report that the CE doctor never received any of their other records.

🌺 It is also helpful to bring copies of any relevant tests or medical reports to have on hand in case the doctor would like to see them.

🌺 Tip from Disability Attorney Sarah Dubinsky: If you have herniated disks or have an EMG for neuropathy, bring a copy of the most severe reports.

Bluebell’s Story

“I just got home from the Social Security doctor. Social Security has hundreds of medical records on me, but they didn’t send them to the doctor. For some reason they sent him one record: a random test from three years ago that said I had no problems. Never mind the books of positive blood work, failed to tilt table tests, hospital visits, ER trips, and the list goes on and on.” – BL

Homebound? Bedbound?

If you are homebound or unable to travel to the CE for medical reasons, Social Security policy is they must provide the CE in your home. How to Request the Social Security Doctor Come to Your House

Get a Ride

Social security will reimburse your transportation to get to the CE. If you cannot afford to pay upfront, contact the person handling your case and request they arrange transportation for you. Also, if you are on Medicaid, you can get free Medicaid transportation to all doctor’s appointments. Contact your Medicaid provider and ask how to schedule Medical transportation.

If you are using Medicaid or a similar service be sure to leave lots of extra time. They are known for being unreliable.

Check That the CE is Necessary

Sometimes the CE exam is scheduled before your file has been fully reviewed. They may ask you to get a type of test or assessment you already have done.

If it turns out that the CE is requesting a type of test, assessment or report that you have already done recently, ask your disability examiner if they have a copy. If they don’t have a copy, you can work with your doctor to get a copy faxed to the Disability Examiner (some disability examiners will allow you to send it in yourself, others will insist it be sent by your doctor). Then you can follow up to see if it has arrived and if a CE is still needed.

A friend or family member can also make these calls on your behalf. Learn more about How to Stay In Touch with Your Disability Examiner

Bring a Buddy

Some lawyers suggest, “It is a good idea to bring a friend or family member with you to your exam to be a witness. Your witness can go into the exam room with you and note the time the exam began and ended and what the doctor did.” You can also write this information down yourself after the exam. This information may be useful to a lawyer later in the process.

Not Happy with The Doctor they Picked? 

If you have seen this doctor before or have other reasons for thinking this particular doctor is not a match for you, you can object to their choice and request a different doctor. From the Social Security policy manual, examples of reasons for objecting:

Good reasons for objection to a CE source include but are not limited to:

  • The CE source represented the claimant’s employer in a workers’ compensation case;
  • The CE source was involved in an insurance claim or legal action adverse to the claimant;
  • The CE source examined the claimant in connection with a previous disability determination or decision that was unfavorable to the claimant
  • The CE source’s office location does not have needed disability access features (e.g., an elevator).

Read the full policy here:

If you are objecting to the doctor, we suggest you put your objection in writing, enclose a copy of the Social Security policy, and point out the policy in your request. Send this directly to your disability examiner (NOT your local office) and follow up to make sure it was received. It could also be a good idea to contact the examiner’s supervisor and contact your congressional rep to ask for their help in making sure your request is received and policies are followed.

Request Your Own Doctor

Another option is to attempt to request your own doctor perform the exam:

How To Request that Your Own Doctor Perform the Consultative Exam

Learn More

Page Updated: January 2020

Complete guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability


3 thoughts on “How To Prep for the CE”

  1. hi my doctor recently faxed in my medical records too my dds examiner but she’s claiming to not have gotten them i know she’s lieing because I called social security and they said my medical records were scanned in is their any way too prove I faxed them


    1. Hello, I’m not certain the answer to this. Is it possible that when you talk to her the records had not yet been scanned into the system?

      If you continue to have problems, you could call the DDS office and asked to speak with a supervisor, or you could contact your Congressperson’s office and ask if they can call on your behalf and inquire about the status of these particular records. Hope this helps.


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