A "consultative examination" typically occurs early in a Social Security disability claim. Depending upon the nature of your medical condition, the State agency that initially reviews your application may ask you to see a doctor or other health care provider for an examination.
It would be nice to say that these physicians are truly objective, and have no "agenda" driving their opinions. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. However, many doctors who perform these examinations are truly fair and objective. Here are some things to think about when attending the examination.
First, you have to realize that if the physician has an agenda, or some bias, there's not much you can do about convincing the doctor that you have a disability. In fact, the harder you try to explain your condition, the more harm you may do!
However, you can minimize the damage done by giving good voluntary effort at the examination, and being polite and cooperative. I have had clients tell me that the examining physician actually laughed at them when reporting their symptoms. This is where you simply have to ignore the response, continue to give your best effort, and respond politely to all questions.
Often times, the examining physician will not have all of the facts, and we can point this out to the Administrative Law Judge at the time of the hearing. Also keep in mind that the rules and policies that direct the Administrative Law Judge's evaluation of medical opinions can be used to discount the consultative examiner's opinions. Generally, a treating physician with a well reasoned opinion will trump the opinion of the one time consultative examination.
If you are working her way through a Social Security disability application, and have questions, call us at 503-325-8600. You can also download our free eBook, which answers the most commonly asked questions, and advises you on the most commonly made mistakes.