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Consultative exams tend to produce denials of disability benefits

The Social Security Administration has a process for evaluating applicants for disability benefits who lack current medical records or any medical records at all. The agency hires physicians to conduct consultative exams on applicants who do not have sufficient documentation of their physical or mental disabilities. Although this might solve problems for disability applicants in West Virginia who have been unable to see a physician, the exams typically result in disapproval.

The exam is often very short, and the physician seeing a person might not have the right qualifications to assess the person's disabling condition. An allergist might see a person suffering from a bad back. Any consultative exams that depend on subjective evaluations based on the physician's expertise could result in a denial of benefits. Examiners who make decisions on disability requests simply want some form of medical documentation that can enable them to close a case.

Because relying on the agency to arrange for an effective medical evaluation could result in a denial, people could pursue alternatives to the consultative exam. When financial hardship prevents people from seeing physicians, they could look for clinics that accept people without money or insurance. Visiting a hospital emergency room might also produce medical records needed to submit a disability claim.

In addition to medical treatment, a person seeking Social Security Disability might benefit from the representation of an attorney. Legal advice may inform a person about how to meet requirements for approval of benefits. An attorney may help gather medical records and prepare an application according to rules established by the agency. This effort might lessen the chance of a denial. An attorney may also manage an appeal if a denial happens and continue the pursuit of benefits.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
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