Art: Robin Mead Art: Elizabeth D’Angelo
You have a right to request your own doctor perform your Consultative Exam for your Social Security disability case. While many of our readers have found it difficult to get this request approved, if you are able to be persistent, it is sometimes possible. Learn more about everything that will happen the day of your exam: How To Hang with the Social Security Doctor
Before Making the Request
It may be helpful to contact your Disability Examiner and try to find out what kind of exam they have ordered.
If it turns out that the CE is requesting a type of test, assessment or report that you have already done recently, point this out to the examiner and ask if they have a copy. In some cases, they may choose to cancel the exam.
Contacting Your Disability Examiner
Do not contact your local office about this. Do not call the national Social Security number. This request must go through your Disability Examiner who works at Disability Determination Services.
If you have difficulties on the phone, you can appoint a friend or family member to call on your behalf: How to Stay In Touch with Your Disability Examiner
Asking Your Doctor
The next step is figuring out if your doctor can do the type of exam ordered. Many CEs are very general assessments that can be done by any primary care doctor, but others may require x-rays or special testing.
Mental health exams can always be done by any licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. They cannot be done by a counselor or therapist.
Start by checking with your doctor and see if they are willing. Your doctor will have to agree to accept payment from Social Security, do the exam requested, and then send Social Security a report.
Your doctor must be an Acceptable Medical Source. There is no point in asking for this change if your doctor is not an acceptable source. For a mental health exam, your doctor would need to be a psychiatrist or psychologist (not therapist or counselor).
Making the Request
Unfortunately, many readers reported that their doctors would not agree to contract with Social Security to perform the exam. Others reported that their doctor was willing, but the Disability Examiner said it was not possible.
From what we have heard from readers, Disability Examiners will always say no to this request if you just call and ask. If you put the request in writing, plus call and speak to supervisors, some readers have gotten it approved.
I am requesting that my treating physician perform my Consultative Exam, in accordance with Social Security policy DI 22510.010 which states that: “The claimant’s own medical source(s) is generally the preferred CE source.” I am requesting that my case be processed in accordance with this policy. (add here if your doctor has any special training or background that makes them especially well suited to perform this exam). My doctor has agreed to perform this exam. My doctor’s contact information is: xxx
Show the Policy
Assume that the Disability Examiner and their supervisor have never heard of the policy above (you may be right!). Show it to them.
Contact Your Congressperson
Anytime you are requesting that Social Security follow a policy, it may help to to contact your congressperson’s office, and ask if they can make a call on your behalf to ensure that this policy is being correctly followed.
Important: Try to be clear about the issue you need help with or the policy you think is not being followed. If you just ask for general help with your case, this will lead them to do a general status check, which may make you feel better, but will not help your case at all.
For example, “I sent the enclosed letter to my disability examiner asking them to follow the Social Security policy on CE exams and they are refusing to consider my request or refusing to reply. Could you please call on my behalf and find out if my letter is received and confirm that they are willing to correctly follow this policy?”
Seen This Doctor Before?
If Social Security schedules you to see a doctor that you have seen before or have a problem with, you may be able to object to their doctor in some situations. This could strengthen your request for seeing your own doctor. Learn more here: How to Prep for the CE
What Do You Think?
Detailed overview of what to expect and everything that will happen the day of your CE: How To Hang with the Social Security Doctor
Complete guide: The Sleepy Girl Guide to Social Security Disability
Article about how to request your own doctor and your rights during a CE.
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