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When applying for disability benefits will I have to see a Social Security doctor?

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Learn when applying for disability benefits means that Social Security will send you to a doctor for evaluation and find out who will pay for the exam.

applying-for-disability-2

When a Consultative Examination
Is Required

Social Security will only send you to a doctor for a Consultative Examination if the medical records and other information you submit when applying for disability are not enough to make a decision on your claim.

Your Responsibility
to Prove Your Disability

If you are asked to go for an examination, you will receive a letter from the Disability Determination Services, which is the agency responsible for reviewing your claim. The letter will give you the name and contact information of the examining doctor, the time of the appointment, and how to confirm that you will attend. It is very important to your claim to confirm the appointment by the date given and to attend the examination on time and cooperate fully. If you fail to do so, your claim is likely to be denied.

When a Psychological Examination Is Required

Sometimes people who are applying for benefits based on a physical condition ask, “Why am I being asked to see a psychiatrist? I’ve never been treated for an emotional problem.” Certainly, that situation can be confusing, but Social Security has a reason for asking you to attend a psychiatric evaluation. Here it is: If the information in your claim file doesn’t support the physical disability you claimed and your reported physical symptoms could be caused by a psychiatric illness, then Social Security wants to find out whether you qualify for benefits based on a mental illness. For more information on how Social Security evaluates your disability application, please visit our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Disability Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?” and “Who Decides If I Am Disabled? If Both My Doctor and the Social Security Disability Doctors Say I Am Unable to Work, Will I Be Approved?”

The Doctor, the Purpose, and the Cost for the Examination

Just as an aside, the doctor to whom you are sent is not actually an employee of the Social Security Administration. Social Security asks a qualified doctor as close as possible to your home to perform the examination. Your own attending physician may even be asked to perform the consultative examination if he is qualified to do independent exams and is willing. A final note: the appointment has been set because you applying for disability and it is for evaluation only, not for treatment.

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180 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    Hi Kay
    I have a head injury and memory problems. Ssa sent me to a psychiatrist for a memory test. I just received a letter now they are sending me to a psychologist for a more formal memory/ iq test t. Is this a good sign?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kim,

      It is a good sign that they are carefully investigating your claim. It is not, however, an indication of whether or not you will be approved.

      Best regards,

      Kay

      • shon says:

        I had a doctor appt and a physc appt two weeks apt for my mental and physical claim its only been three weeks and I checked yesterday and they said my case was closed and ill get a letter ive been applying off and on for five years they said it’s been reviewed and now closed does that mean they have denied me

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Shon,

          It is likely that your claim has been denied. If it were approved medically and wer pending non-medical factors, it would say “pending.”
          If you really believe you are disabled–unable to perform substantial gainful activity, that is, earn $1,070 gross per month–and have not appealed before, you should request your claim file and read the reasons for the denial. If you still disagree, then you should appeal.

          Sincerely,

          Kay

        • Lupita says:

          I have a same exams coming up. What does these exams entail? Is the physical exam with blood work too?

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Lupita,

            The consultative examinations requested by the Social Security Administration are for evaluation purposes only, not for treatment. They usually do not involve blood tests.

            Sincerely,

            Kay

      • marsha says:

        Im 60yrs old been workin sence i was15. In Sept2014 I was diagnosed with severe AR in my right knee. Some days i cant walk. I apply for SSD in Sept2014. They told me i had plenty enough points. they sending me to their doctor for examination of my knee and foot. They have my me c ial re c ords. I didn’t go to the doctor very much, but i been goin to the same doctor sence 1995. Do you think i be aprove

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Marsha,

          Whether or not you are approved will depend on your limitations as related to the job requirements of occupations you have done in the past and also your education, training, and other factors that determine whether at your age you could adapt to a different kind of work.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

    • Fred says:

      HI Kim I have quit a few issue that I file a Disability claim for as PTSD, ADHD, DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, Somnia, Altuzm just to a few so SSA SENT ME TO a psychiatrist and I definitely could understand why but about three week after my SSA psychiatrist visit I get a letter from the Disability Determination Service saying that the SSA has forward my disability claim to them for a Determination but after review of my claim they find that a ( SPECIAL MEDICAL EXAMINATION) is needed so they scheduled me an examination but this is not a psychiatrist kinda Dr. I think it’s like a really MD. so I guess what I’m asking is why would they send me to a really MD. and all my disability are to the Psychiatrist type of Dr should I be worried that they my be about to denied me or is this considered normal Thank’s for any response and sorry for the miss spelling of any word another issue of mine if it was not for auto spelling then I would not have got this out

      • Kay Derochie says:

        Dear Fred,

        Perhaps your records indicated the possibility of a physical disability and they want to gather information about that. Be sure to let the disability examiner know about any reading or writing limitations you might have. Do be sure you attend the appointment, but you can also ask why you are being sent to the second doctor, that is, what is being evaluated.

        Sincerely,
        Kay

  2. Laurie says:

    Hi Kay. This is my 1st time applying for PTSD,ADHD, and memory loss. They sent me to their phycologist in December and today when I checked my online status it said I need a amended application. What does that mean and is it a good sign? Thanks so much!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Laurie,

      I am not familiar with the term “amended application.” I suggest that you call your local Social Security office and talk with the claims representative who is handling your claim to get an explanation and find out what you need to do.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  3. Shawna says:

    I was asked to do a psychological exam however no medical exam was needed. I applied sept 2013 and when I called today (feb 10, 2014) was told I would have answer in next 30 days. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis.
    Is it bad that they do not want me to get a medical exam?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shawna,

      They did not request a medical examination because they believe that your medical records provide an adequate picture of your physical condition. It is likely that the medical information was insufficient to approve your claim based on your arthritis alone and that they are investigating to see if you have mental health limitations as well. If the mental health limitations alone or in combination with your physical limitations indicate that you are disabled as defined by Social Security law, your claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • Dennis says:

        From Reading all the materials presented and issues to overcome with SSDI. I sometimes wonder how I got approved the very first time and workers compensation was continuing my Psychologist appointments. I went everyday for 3 years and now once every two weeks. When I first applied I filled out the application and by the way it was like a book after it was done. I then sent it into them and viola I was approved for disability concerning my PTSD. I worked for the state at the time I was nearly beaten to death by a prisoner.

        It only took 30 days for approval. I just received a short form CDR to fill out. I sent it in and they wrote back saying there is no need for review at this time. Not sure what that meant but it was sent to my on my third year collecting. Now I guess it will be another 7 years before I hear from them again. I would be 66 years old and it will turn into regular retirement.

        I also get state disability after three years it will also turn into a retirement. I just don’t understand people with actual physical ailments that are undeniable are taken through SSDI doctors and all I did was schedule myself for an in network workers comp psychologist. I guess SSDI accepted his diagnosis thus keeping me from the SSDI Doctor and allowing my private psychologist for updates.

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Dennis,

          It sounds as if you were approved “easily” because you had very frequent and consistent psychiatric care, your mental health care provider kept very good records, and you did a thorough job of completing your application forms.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  4. Ronnie says:

    I reapplied after denial from judge in jan 2013. I was ask to go see SS doctors. When I inquired to SS I found out they did not have any of my medical records and as a matter of fact had not received any updated medical information on me since August 2012. I guess my other attorney was not forwarding my medical records, hence one of many reasons for my denial. Anyway, Ss has now received my records pertaining to my Bi polar yet they still want me to go for a physical exam. Is this a good or bad sign? What should I expect? I have medical records of my bi polar since 2009 and have not worked since then. This is my last chance at SS as my insurability date is March 2014. It is very important that I do everything possible to win. Suggestions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ronnie,

      My suggestions are that you be sure that Social Security has all the medical information that could support your claim (which you apparently have done) and that you attend the examination. Also, if statements have not been obtained from your family and friends, ask them to write observations that they have on how your condition(s) affect your ability to function in daily life. If you have former work colleagues or supervisors who observed you having problems on the job, get statements about what they observed from them too. Lastly, be sure that you have provided a full list of your duties in occupations that you have performed and list which duties you couldn’t perform because of your conditions and why.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

      • angelia wilds says:

        Kay, my husband has been going through this for 6 years now. 3 years ago he had to do the same thing, go see their doctors. He went to a physical exam today and they could not see him, they said SSI has not sent over the medical records…Why did they not send it, because they sent it 3 years ago. Whats up with that ????????? The lawyer has giving them all the records up to date. Last time it was the heart Dr, Physical exam and mental. This time it was a physical exam and mental exam. We are trying to move and i’m freaking out just another set back, Can u help with this question??????

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Angelia,

          I would guess that someone slipped up in not forwarding the records to the consulting physician and that the physician’s office also slipped up in not cancelling the appointment in advance.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  5. apryl says:

    Hi,
    I am a above the knee amputee and half of my right lung removed. My question is I was approved for ssi 8yrs ago but while I worked I was not advised to switch to ssdi,so my benifits were stopped. I am reapplying and they sent me to a chiropractor and he flat said he dont know why they chose him.

  6. sue says:

    I got a letter from ssi saying they are sending me to s dr.to see how bad my arthritis is…..i had other medical issues wrong with me too….mentally issues …wby didnt they say i need to see a pjyschiatrist? And if they dont think myy arthritis is real bd….can i still get ssi for my other medical issues??

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Sue,

      Apparently, Social Security finds that your psychiatric condition alone is not disabling. You could still be approved if they find either that your arthritis is disabling in and of itself or that you have limitations from each condition–arthritis and your mental health diagnosis–that when combined are disabling.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  7. Ruth bennett says:

    I have applied for disibility in Jan-2014. I received a phone call yesterday 3-20 about an appointment to see a social security dr. I have ms & why do I have to see this dr?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ruth,

      Apparently, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) claims examiner didn’t find enough information in your medical records to determine the severity of your MS symptoms and the limitations stemming from them. It is important that you attend the examination and cooperate fully. If you do not, your claim may be denied.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  8. Kathy says:

    Hello, I have been seeing a dr for right hip pain since june 2013, as when the pain started, I applied for ssd/ssi on the same day in oct of 2013. I was denied the end of dec, and I moved and did a reconsideration, I then have been seeing another ortho who is also saying the same as my original dr 5 states away. I also have terrible mood swings and GAD. I got a letter from the ss office with a dr’s name and number and appointment date and time. So I called and verified the appointment, also found out that I will also be seeing a psychiatrist for the mental part, which I have been and also a counselor. I found out this dr they are sending me to is a pediatrician. Why would they send me to a pediatrician for osteoarthritis, and labral tear? I’m beginning to think this is all a joke and a waste of time, I have all my documentations from the doctors and behavioral health center. So is this a sign that they are just making me do more work just to get denied again? And my current ortho wont prescribe meds and I havent found a family dr that will take my ins. Plus not working I cant afford anything as I have no funds. What do you think?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Kathy,

      First, be sure that you should attend the consultative examinations. Failure to do so, could result in a denial I suggest that you also call the Disability Determination Services (SSD) examiner to double check that there is no error in your being sent to pediatrician. Mistakes do occur. If it is not a mistake, as for an explanation for the choice of specialists.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  9. Jason says:

    Hello I am 70% disabled through the Va. I had a l4 l5 fusion in 09 its not any better and MRI doesn’t show signs of improvement just normal wear and tear from age. I
    I have a plate and screws in my back. They sent me for a examine that lasted 45 min. Also I have PTSD from war. I was sent to a phys doctor. Also surgery on my right knee. I have a off set knee cap. I need a brace for my back and knee. I don’t take meds makes me sick and never helped. Also cronix migrainsm.y forward flrxstion was 5% side was 10% any chance of winning my case 1st time or 2nd time with a lawyer? Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jason,

      You have multiple conditions that may qualify you for Social Security Disability; however, if you are denied, get an attorney for your first appeal. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  10. shaunda johnson says:

    I have been applying for Social Security since the beginning of 2012 and was denied 3 times already. I have some physical, but more mental illness issues. I have been being treated for my issues for a very long time. I suffer from severe depression, severe anxiety and social anxiety disorder, sleep apnea and insomnia. which I take medicine for to sleep. well after fighting again for the 3rd time, I hope they are finally listening to me. I had questioned, why did they have me go to their independent Psychologist. so I went about 2weeks ago. do you think I have a better chance now to be approved? I will be devastated if they deny me again.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shaunda,

      I do not know whether you will be approved this time; but apparently the examiner thinks there are some questions about your conditions that were not answered in your claim file and is trying to gather more information for a decision.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  11. Nija Johnson says:

    I applied for my son for adhd and a speach impairment he was deniedv feb 28 2011 i apealed went in front of alj judge he was sent to a psychological evaluation were the man said nothing was wrong basically but I had notes from teachers,principal,preacher etc supporting our facts along with his doc records so alj said he needed to send him back out so he was sent to a mental exam were he was given wechsler lntelligence test for children forth addition diagnostic impression was Adhd/ borderline intellectual functioning and out of six domains four were marked. Im confuse why would the first person said nothing wrong was allowed to be by video when his findings were two years ago be the expert interpreter for the judge who was still negative. Instead of the mental expert three months ago? I did have an attorney who did get him to say, he sounds like a mild case of adhd with behavior problems he then said no futher questions. I then ask the judge what aboutthe new evidence. Judge said I am who sent you there ITS BEEN 3YEARS WHAT NOW!judge said id have a decision in 1 to 11/2 month. What does sound like

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Nija,

      I can’t say for sure what the judge meant, but I would expect him to consider the evidence that he himself requested. I am not sure what you meant by the judge still being negative; however, if the claim is denied, you can request an Appeals Council review.

      Best regards,

      Kay

  12. blaze gilman says:

    Hi I Need to know if you filed for SSI because you have anexity so bad that you don’t leave the house and Don’t associate with the public. and you have mild Bone degenerative disorder. Can you get approved for SSI even If SSI does not requsted you to see their Doctor’s. And I have Limited Doctors records Due to Not leaving my House. And I have No work History at all. And I’m 40 Years Old.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Blaze,

      To be approved for Social Security or Supplemental Security income, you must present proof of disability either from your medical and psychiatric records or by a consultative examination. It is important to let Social Security know that part of your disability is so much anxiety that you do not go out of your house and that is a reason for few medical records. You may be asked to attend an examination and failure to do so may result in your claim being denied. I suggest that you consider asking one or more family members to support you in getting to such an examination by their going with you.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  13. Beverly says:

    I applied for disability in March of 2014, they first sent me a letter wanting me to provide more of my physicians addresses and numbers and I complied. This happened in April. Then in June they sent me to a physical exam doctor and I was waiting on the results from that exam which was on June 16th. Today June 28th I received a letter instructing me I have a mental exam scheduled for July 8th. I thought the reason for being sent to their doctors was not receive medical information. I have been to some form of doctor in the last two years around 50 times or more. I see a neurologist because Its been suspected MS for 10 years. I see a Rheutologist for fibromyailgia ,I have chronic back pain that I get very little help with because doctors simply do not give anything for pain for anymore because of the new laws. I have chronic headaches. I have blood disease. I have third stage kidney disease.And many other things going on. I have not received any denials yet. But my question is why sent me for a mental exam? I do have some memory problems and when I am stressed I have difficulty speaking at time but I do not consider myself depressed, anxiety at times but not depressed. Why would they send me for a mental exam?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Beverly,

      It would appear that Social Security wants to know more about your cognitive (memory and speech) problems.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  14. Kris says:

    Hi Kay,

    I have 4 herniated disks in Lumbars 3,4,5 & S1. Been to two neurologist, both agree they cannot guarantee surgery to alleviate my pain. I completed 6 weeks of physical therapy, only relief I found was it eliminated all the stiff muscles. Nothing alleviates my pain, except 5-6 times a day laying flat on heat pad. I am currently with a pain management doctor . I have also been diagnosis from my psychiatrist of almost three years with major depression with agoraphobia, panic disorder, and panic attacks. I went for my CE exam today and was pleasantly surprised at the empathy from this complete stranger. At the end of the session, she said “You did good”. Praying this means she supports the Mdd and I see an approval soon. It will be a year in August.

  15. melissa mckinney says:

    Hi my husban has been trying to get ssi for years now. This is the 2nd time he is trying for his heart condition. He appealed their decision because they left out a lot of his medical history. So now they have it but they sent him to a mental exam and the woman he saw said she was seeing if he could handle his own money. I’m just wondering what this means. Did he get approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melissa,

      If the only reason for the mental examination was to evaluate his capability to handle money, then you can expect that his claim will be approved.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  16. monica flen says:

    Hello,

    I wanted to know for a 6yr old that has been diagnosed with adhd and is receiving medication for this disability in school she is receiving a 504 plan and should she also receive an iep? Also, I want to know if i can apply for ssi for her as well? If so what information would I need?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Monica,

      I am not qualified to comment on whether your child qualifies for an independent educational plan. I suggest that you check with the school district. You can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to see if she is disabled as defined by Social Security. I suggest that you review the information under the “SSI” tab on the http://www.disabilityadvisor.com website for information about SSI, including the criteria for childhood disability. Submit medical information, mental testing, and any documentation the school district has.

      Sincerely,

      Kay

  17. stephanie says:

    I applied in April and have not been rasked to see a Dr my attorney said I should have been weeks ago if I am not sent to a Dr what does this mean?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Stephanie,

      Not all claimants are sent to a doctor. If you have submitted enough information for Social Security to make a decision, they will not ask you to attend an examination. The delay may be that your claim is waiting in line to be reviewed. Sometimes due to large workloads there is a delay before the review begins.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  18. Chan says:

    SSI is sending me to a psychiatrist and a medical doctor, both in the same week.why is this? I suffer from a thoracic herniated disc, which I have been receiving epidural injections from, severe carpal tunnel in both hands which I had surgery on my dominant which made my problems worse, hypertension, IbS-c, severe anxiety, depression, chronic back, leg, hip and foot pain.i am also being referred to a rheumatologist by my neurologist for suspicion of auto immune arthritis. Can you give me some insight on this?? Thanks!! I can’t work due to all this I am so depressed…

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chan,

      Social Security is sending you to medical and psychiatric examinations to gather information that did not find in your claim file. Be sure to let the claims examiner know that you are going to be evaluated for an autoimmune disorder and that you will give her the date of the appointment as soon as you have it. Then arrange to get a copy of the report to send to the examiner after you see the rheumatologist.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  19. Vickie Owens says:

    5 years ago I had a major surgery on right rotator cuff and collar bone and received SSD and after 18 months of healing, I went back to work and went off of SSD. I am now more critical with numerous conditions, Crohn’s Disease, A tear in the same shoulder, an ulcerated esophagus, fibromyalgia and arthritis. I have submitted all medical and had to quit work on June 5, 2014. SSD is sending me to a psychiatrist and a DO doctor. Will they take into consideration my age, (57) and my previous claim for SSD along with my medical conditions?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Vicki,

      Your age will be taken into consideration. Specifically, because you are over age fifty, you only have to be disabled from occupations you have performed in the past. You should state that you received Social Security in the past, but your claim will be based on all your current conditions and you must submit all your medical history. Information in your prior claim file will not be accessed if it has been five years or more since you were last eligible for benefits. If it has been less than five years, you might qualify for expedited reinstatement because of the tear in the same shoulder. If so, the five-month unpaid waiting period is waived. If it’s been less than five years since benefits were terminated, contact Social Security and say that you should have applied for expedited reinstatement.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  20. Tamika Homesly says:

    Hi I just recently applied for ssd and was stabbed all the way down to the bone with no meat left inside of my arm and caused nerve damage . the area where this happened was right over a tattoo which is kinda good because I took pictures of the injury so they won’t just think its some pictures I’ve stolen or isn’t mine. The tatoo proves it is will it be good to take the pictures to the medical examiner if asked too see one ?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tamika,

      You can take the picture to an independent medical examiner if you are asked to go to one, but the examiner will probably be more focused on any loss of function you currently have.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  21. Tammy Stacey says:

    I applied in May 2014 and I had all of my medical records that I gave them on the day I applied which was a year of medical records. Then my case was sent to quality review. Then they sent me to there eye doctor who said I have sever glaucoma and constriction (which I am applying because of my glaucoma) Then I got a letter stating that I qualify for temporary ssi and got 1 back payment and 1 regular payment which by the way I had a hard time getting because they kept sending it to my old account which was closed. Then I was finally told that my case came back from quality review, but it had mistakes and was sent to the doctor to be fixed. Then I was just told yesterday Aug 19, 2014 that I was denied on the 15th of August. Also in between all this back and forth I was told before my case came back from quality review with mistakes that I was approved. Does something not sound right about this whole thing to you or is this just normal procedure? And if their eye doctor found that I had sever glaucoma and sever constriction, but yet after saying I was approved then saying I was denied very confused?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Tammy,

      Usually no payments would be made until the quality review was complete. If you believe that you cannot work, you should appeal the denial. It sounds as if you need legal assistance. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  22. leigh ann says:

    Hello! I was in an accident 8 moths ago, run kver by a drink driver. Anyhow im on my first appeal i have been left with many life long medical issues and face many surgeries. I still have sacral fractures that will never he and are unopertable. I got the letter for the mental health exam and the apointment was to be today. Well in the mean time i took it upon myself to send any and all medical records they called to inform the got them on friday of last week. It is now thursday and they have called to say they cancelled my appointment and it was no longer needed. The lady couldnt give any other information other than ill get a letter in the mail and my case was going on further to the social security admin. What do you think this means?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Leigh Ann,

      I believe that your claim is being medically approved. (Good job on gathering up the evidence.) The local Social Security office will review the non-medical factors of eligibility and take action to move your claim to payment, assuming that all criteria are met.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • leigh ann says:

        Yay thats what i was thinking too! Thank you for your response. Ive been on my toes for this for months. I even sadly had to return to work even under orders of bed rest just to get buy. I have been put on the indigence program but still have copays i had to cover each week. Its been rough and i struggle just to get in ten hours a week. I cant wait to get that letter. And be told i can stop struggling so much. Now then will i get back pay from the first time i filed or just from my appeal. Thank you again for your response. It seems your site here had helped out many!!

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Leigh Ann,

          Hopefully I am correct in my assessment that you have been approved. Back pay will be based on your original application. You will receive your monthly benefits before you get the back pay. If you applied for Social Security Disability (SSDI), back pay will start with the sixth full calendar month after you became disabled. If you applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), benefits will start the month after the month you applied, unless you applied on the first of the month in which case benefits will start with the month of application.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  23. David says:

    Hello Kay, I just received a letter from SS asking me to see the 2 doctors, one Psychiatrist, and a another it says physical, same day, 8am another at 1:30pm. My question is I just received the letter from SS, the app is 9 days from now. The app is for Friday Sept 5th, we will be driving that day back from S.C. Family Reunion. When I call my divisibility reviewer, will they let me reschedule, or have another app? very bad timing! thanks!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear David,

      You can call to ask to have the appointments rescheduled because you have a prior commitment. They may or may not reschedule them. Either way, be sure to attend the appointments.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  24. Chris says:

    Hi Kay.

    I attended my scheduled psych exam a month ago. Just last week, my local office called to confirm they’d received the report but were still missing medical records. So, I provided the information they requested, despite having already provided them during the application process.

    I’m a generic severe depression, severe anxiety, social anxiety and my social workers have had me certified as Severe Mental Illness.

    Sounds like my local office just got their hands on the report, hasn’t looked over the records thoroughly or in fact didn’t receive them. But they seems like they are actively investigating.

    What are your thoughts? First time application. Am I looking at an inevitable denial or still riding the 70/30 denial/approval odds?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Chris,

      Your assessment that your claim is being actively reviewed is correct. There’s no reason to expect a denial at this point. I suggest that you let your medical providers know that the Disability Determination Services will be requesting records for your claim and ask them to respond quickly. Also, get an estimate of how long it will take them to respond. I suggest that you ask the examiner to let you know if she has any trouble getting the records. Then check with the examiner a week after the medical providers’ estimated time frames to see if the records have been received.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  25. Rita says:

    I have basal joint osteoarthritis bilaterally and I have interstitial cystitis. I applied for disability. On Feb 2013. I was denied and requested an appeal after hiring an attorney. I went to my hearing with ALJ. Now I’ve been told I have to see an independent orthopedist and Internist/Urologist. Each visit states doctor will see me for only 15 minutes. How are two doctors that have never seen me or know my history going to determine I am disabled in 15 minutes?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Rita,

      Apparently, there is something specific that the judge wants to know that he or she believes can be ascertained with a short examination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  26. Joshua Valencia says:

    hello I applied for Social Security Disability based on my PTSD severe anxiety with panic attack and chest pain and torn rotator cuff Social Security schedule me for a medical evaluation and psychological evaluation I went to my medical evaluation and told the doctor everything about my post traumatic stress disorder my anxiety muscle spasms chest pain and shoulder pain after going to that the doctor also said i have high blood pressure just wondering why I was scheduled to go to a psychological evaluation but after this doctor’s appointment why they canceled my psychological evaluation what does that mean is it a good thing or bad

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Joshua,

      I assume that your psychological evaluation was cancelled because the claims examiner believes that he or she has gotten all the information needed to decide your claim from the first exam. This could mean that the claim will be approved, but not necessarily.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  27. Joshua Valencia says:

    Thanks for any and all help

    • Kay Derochie says:

      You are welcome, Joshua.

      • Joshua valencia says:

        hey I was wondering I have two doctors appointments with Social Security and they cancelled both of those after I already seen one medical appt for my post traumatic stress disorder I did the little test tested me and noticed that I had high blood pressure but he thought it could be due to my anxiety es I talked with Social Security last week and told me the amount I would be receiving and that I would be receiving a decision in December I was wondering if this was a good thing I filled out all the packets they needed and seen all the doctors they wanted other than the two they canceled thank you again for everything

        • Joshua valencia says:

          disregard this message Kay thanks for info you answered my question on the first post I just I my first question didn’t post so I apologize for reposting

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Joshua,

          If you have received a payment amount (not an estimate) and a date benefits will start, your claim has been approved. A letter of approval may come before or after the first payment.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  28. Lisa says:

    Thank you for answering so many questions, I am finding this all very confusing. I applied for SSD and a couple of weeks ago I went for an examination with the SS Doctor. He was very positive with me and told me he would get the paperwork in and it should be helpful to me. Today I have to go for lab work. Why would I have to go for lab work (don’t know what kind, other than it is at a cardiovascular institute)? Is this any kind of sign good or bad? I feel they are really looking into my case, but could the lab work make or break my case? Thank you!

  29. ni says:

    The SSD examiner called me to see if I had seen an MD since June. I have been going 1 to 2 times a week to a chiropractor at the Pain Management MD’s suggestion. Will this satisfy the Disability department? My medical NP says there is nothing else to do for me except meds, tens unit.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ni,

      Chiropractic records aren’t given the same weight as medical physicians. Make it clear that you are seeing a chiropractor as prescribed by your pain management physician. If the nurse practitioner’s opinion about future treatment was rendered since June, be sure to mention that as well.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  30. Flora says:

    I am being sent for a Psychiatric evaluation. I am a dialysis patient and have difficulties with my treatments, fistula and blood pressure. My doctor wants me to go on disability. I have never seen a Psychiatrist before so am not sure why I’m being sent to see him instead of an MD. Any thoughts and advice of what questions they will be asking me? or How I should ask him or her?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Flora,

      I can’t predict what questions you will be asked. Whatever they are, answer the consulting physician’s questions honestly even if you can’t see why they are being asked. You might also ask the examiner who requested the evaluation what has led him or her to request a psychiatric consultation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  31. Melinda F. says:

    I had a disability hearing, Sept. 25,2014,and I chose by advice from my attorney, to forego my case because my doctor claimed I was able to sit for six hours and can do sedentary work, when I cannot. My attorney said that this way I can keep my case from being denied. I was diagnosed by my doctor, who is actually a nurse practitioner, as having Lupus. I have severe joint pain, which I was prescribed Vicodin, Tramadol, and Flexeril for. I cannot sit still long enough for her to have written that I am able to sit and do sedentary work. These meds are taken daily, and cause me sleep most of the day. I checked through the client portal with this law firm, and found that my case is awaiting the ALJ’s decision. What does that mean, when after all I withdrew to keep from being denied? The information my primary care physician put on my file, when she filled out the RFC forms, basically threw my case out. But this is the thing,..she never examined me to have come to the conclusion that I could sit for six hours. I have never even had an MRI, nor seen any other specialist because she never got e referred. I applied for disability in 2012 because of my back, which was hurt from a car accident in 2010. And because of the death of my husband in 2011. I was having pain in my neck, and left shoulder to where it was impossible to do anything. So I while at the clinic that I attend, I got to see at least three doctor’s, and the last one a Nurse Practitioner. She just don’t seem all that interested in what is going on with me. How do you tell your patient that they have Lupus, and you see the pain they are in, yet you do a write up that doesn’t make sense, or measure up to what your patient is going through. I am 52 years old,and I hurt every day,from upon waking to getting to bed for the night. When I went to my hearing, I brought with me all of what I had documented of my pain,and aches,also the paper showing I am positive for Lupus. I showed this paper to my attorney,and shewas shocked, because it wasn’t in my file that my attorney had. I hurt now as I peck the keys on my computer. Also I checked back on the site of my lawyers, and found that the ALJ is still reviewing my case,and should have an answer in two to four months. Should I re-apply? Should I go back to that nurse practitioner, or get another doctor? What do I do! PLEASE get back to me!!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melinda,

      To better understand your situation, I suggest that you talk with your attorney to get an understanding of what she meant by “foregoing” your case to avoid getting a decision and also for advice about what to do to document your limitations. Check with your attorney to be sure, but I don’t think you can file a new claim while you have a hearing decision pending.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  32. Melinda F. says:

    Thanks Kay,…
    I spoke to an attorney,and I was told to wait to see what the outcome of my hearing was.

    But thanks for taking time out to answer my comment.

  33. Melinda F. says:

    Hi Kay,..it’s me again. When i said “forego”, that was not what I meant. I withdrew from my hearing,because my attorney said that if I had gone on with the hearing the Judge would have denied me,and I would have lost a year from my case. So I withdrew. But now,I got a message saying a decision would be made in 2 to 4 months. Is this good? And because my husband died in 2011,and he worked all his life,would that factor in also?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Melinda,

      If you withdrew your request for a hearing, it may be that a letter would still have to be sent and the judge would have to write a “decision” to dismiss the hearing or something similar. In any event, you need to ask your attorney to clarify your situation. Your husband being deceased does not have a bearing on your own disability claim. If you are age fifty or over, you can apply for disabled widow’s benefits, which is a separate claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  34. Lee says:

    Dear Kay;

    I applied for SSD late 2013 for CRPS & depression. It started in 2011 and I am still under the care of my neurologist, who stated my prognosis was “guarded” and indicated on a form for Social Services, that I cannot work or be retrained. I provided SSD with all the names & phone numbers of all who have treated me, my E.R. dates and medications, but they sent me for a mental health exam and a physical. I am in my early 50′s and have recently been diagnosed with PTSD, due to a death. Now the individual who performed the mental health exam for SSD also did the exam for Social Services. For Social Services, she said she was deeming me exempt from working. I honestly thought I provided enough medical info from all my caretakers. But have been told by other’s and have read online, that SSA does not consider CRPS a disability. I wear two different braces. One for day and one for bedtime. Is it true that SSA does not take CRPS (also known as RSD) seriously?

    Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lee,

      Some diagnoses are harder to prove because some of the symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, are hard to measure. That said, your claim will be considered based on the severity of your symptoms and the limitations they cause.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  35. Jerry Hunt says:

    Dear Kay,

    I have been scheduled to appear before judge in regards to my SSDI. My question is, Do ALJ’s have my blood work charts in DETAIL inside of my Exhibit List? As in, can they see my vitamin deficiencies and so forth? Do my drug test results (IF ANY?) show up in the file?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Jerry,

      Whether or not the judge has the specific laboratory results you mention depends on whether or not you submitted those laboratory records as part of your appeal. If you don’t know and you have an attorney, I suggest you ask the attorney. If you don’t have an attorney, you could get a copy of the records you reference and take them to the hearing with you or submit them to the judge in advance of the hearing.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  36. Lee says:

    Thank You Kay. I will add that they have added my recent heart attack & stent & a broken ankle from late 2013, that never healed and the PTSD, for the recent passing of my son. I felt that if the same CE for mental health, would provide the same diagnosis of unable to work for Social Services, she would be providing the same diagnosis to SSD.

    Thank you,

    Lee

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lee,

      Presumably, the examiner would provide similar reports both to Social Services and the Social Security Administration.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  37. donna reynolds says:

    I last was able to work 1/13 due to very severe cervical stenosis with myelopathy at C-7. I had an ACDF in 7/13. Approx. 80% of my body is affected with numbness, weakness, and spasticity. I have difficulty standing, sitting, lying, or walking for more than a few minutes. I applied in 7/13 and was denied around the 1st part of 11/13. It all went bad and on 12/31 I was making arrangements for a posterior laminectomy, which occurred in 2/14. In both cases, the surgeon said he doubted he could help me, but hopefully could keep it from worsening. I re-applied with representation in 7/14. I was notified that I had been put on medical hold because my condition needed to lapse for 3 months before I could be considered for SSD. This made no sense, so I called the examiner and the medical hold was lifted. I now have an appointment with one of their doctors for a physical exam. I am 51, widowed, and live in TN. I am wondering what my attorney should be doing at this point? They told me they don’t even pull my med records until the hearing phase, but instead make certain SS is getting all of my records. I have received no correspondence that they have done anything at all, as they said they would cc me on all correspondence they make to SS. Should I get my records for myself and distribute them accordingly? Do I need another attorney?? I have had no income at all since 1/31 and will soon lose my house to back taxes. All of my health care has come by way of the Indigent Care Program through our Health Dept., btw. I will be homeless if I have to wait the 2.5 years they are saying I’ll wait.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Donna,

      I suggest that you do everything you can to present your case now, to avoid the need to appeal. Compile a list of medical records (provider and date) that you want Social Security to have; then call the claims examiner who is handling your claim and say you want to confirm that they have received the records from your attorney. If any are missing, ask the examiner to defer a decision until they are received and say that you will follow up with your attorney and the medical providers. Then contact the attorney to ask the status of the request for the missing records. If records have been requested, follow up with the custodian of the records. Also be sure that you attend the consultative examination that has been requested.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  38. donna reynolds says:

    Update:
    The doctor SSA sent me to began the exam by stating that he hoped to help me. This surprised me. He did a quick physical exam and was very kind. He said his assessment of my limitations were as follows:
    No heavy lifting or pulling
    No prolonged sitting or standing
    No overhead work
    Limited arm and leg involvement.

    I hope this is conducive to approval.

    Thank you so very much for your time.

    Donna

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Donna,

      Whether or not you are approved will depend on whether or not those limitations keep you from doing work that you have done in the past and if you are under age fifty any new type of work you could otherwise adapt to.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • DONNA REYNOLDS says:

        Oh, Kay, thank you for that reply! I was 50 when I first applied, and a widow. I have computer skills, but they were obtained in the mid ’90′s. Other than that, I have worked retail. I also recently found out that someone I knew for years, but haven’t seen in a while, works for a U.S. Representative. I will be 52 in March.

        Thank you once again,
        DR

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Donna,

          There appears to be some possibility that you could be approved.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Donna Reynolds says:

            I was contacted by the Examiner in Nashville who wanted to go over my retail work experience. He went into great detail and, until then, I didn’t appreciate how physical my work had been. He said he would then be forwarding my case to the ‘vocational department’, then I would receive notification of a decision. This was in early 11/14. My attorney notified me that the case had left DD on 11/20, but no one has heard anything yet. I’ve called 3 times, but haven’t heard anything, nor has my attorney. Any advice? Why would he take such time in asking about my previous work if the case was to be sent to the vocational department anyhow? This is such a frustrating process.

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Donna,

            If you applied for Social Security Disability and the case left the Disability Determination Services in November and you haven’t heard anything, you might check with the local office to see whether the claim is now in the payment center, which would be an indication of approval. It can take one to three months for the payment center to authorize payment.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

          • DONNA REYNOLDS says:

            Just got a letter of approval. Thank you for all you do, Kay. This website is the most informative and helpful site I’ve visited and, trust me, I’ve scoured the Internet for almost 2 years!

            Have a wonderful 2015 and thank you, once again!

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Donna,

            You are welcome and thank you for the update. I am glad you were approved.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  39. Lisa says:

    I am now waiting on a decision and am afraid to go to the mailbox. I had to see a Psychologist for cognitive testing this past Wednesday. I mentioned to him that I had a sleep study done on the Sunday before. The next morning, Thursday, I got a call from my case worker wanting the number for the place that did the sleep study. She said that was the last thing she needed. I know she got the information from the Psychologist’s report. Is it a good sign that she still wanted another medical record after getting his report. Otherwise, wouldn’t his report be enough to give me a denial, if that is the way they are headed? I am hopeful, it is an approval and the sleep study recorders are just to tie it all up. Any thoughts? I am worrying myself sick.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lisa,

      You cannot at this point know what the decision might be. It could be an approval; it could also be a denial. The examiner could not finalize a denial with outstanding medical information. My principal thought is that there is no point worrying before you get the decision. If you are denied and believe you truly cannot work, get a good Social Security attorney and appeal. You can obtain an excellent Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from your retroactive award at the time they send your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  40. amy says:

    Hello Kay,
    My husband served in the Marine Corps. for over 16 years. During his third deployment in Iraq in 2006 he was hit with an IED and suffered a head injury and back injury. Finally in early 2013 he medically retired and had a 90% rating from the VA. On top of his physical injuries, he suffers from severe PTSD, Anxiety, anti social, depression and suicidal just to name a few. For a while I’ve ask him to apply for ssi but hesitant due to stories his heard from other veterans who have been denied and doesn’t want to go through that same stress. He finally agreed and three months later he’s being sent to go to a mental and physical evaluation. However, the Dr. he’s seeing for both exam is a chiropractor? Is this a common thing? I mean , shouldn’t he be seen by a physician and a psychologist? What are the chances he will be approved?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Amy,

      I would have expected a back evaluation to be by an orthopedist or physiatrist and his mental health condition by a psychiatrist. I suggest that you respectfully as the claims examiner why he is being sent to a chiropractor, especially for the mental exam. Perhaps an error has been made.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  41. Patricia says:

    Hello Kay,
    I recently applied for SSDI after being diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. I have not worked since 9/2012 due to being let go from my job and it has been hard to find employment (my opinon, I think due to my age 58). I’ve had issues (hypertension and psoriasis and arthritis) for a while but continued to work then. Now the arthritis has started to deteriorate my joints and I am no longer able to work on the computer, walk or even sit for periods of time. My question is, because I’ve worked with some of these conditions previously (that have gotten worse, since unemployed) will this disqualify me from SSDI?

    Sincerely,
    Patricia

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Patricia,

      Your having worked with active medical conditions will not disqualify you. Your claim will be evaluated on your current condition. If, however, you put your reason for stopping work as being laid off for non-medical reasons, it could be advisable to also make the statement that your condition has worsened since you last worked.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  42. Freddy says:

    I applied for disability a while back and I put on the application Arthritis and depression. They sent me to a psychiatrist and she asked me questions like what does a banana and an apple have in common, what does a chair and table have in common etc. Then asked me to remember things, who the current gov. was etc My question is what does any of these questions have to do with depression? Also How can one tell if someone is depressed when only spending 10 minutes with them?
    I have a physical CE later this week. What kinds of things do they do during a physical CE ? I dont currently see a doctor is there away to see some kind of doctor without insurance? I only have share of costs
    thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Freddy,

      I suggest that you investigate whether there is a free or low-cost clinic and/or mental health center in your area where you can be seen. Next fall during the next open enrollment period, I suggest that you apply for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). You may qualify for a government subsidy for the premiums.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • cat says:

        Hi kay ive been fighting ss since 2010 the hospital. Signed me up ive been denied well after about 4 denials going befor a judge. I get a letter fron three big letters to fill out a lot of questiobs and a week ago i got a letter to go have a physical exzam abd xrays performed. I did it all im just tired now is his a good thing this is the first time ive been thorough. This as far as receiving any mail directly from ss whats going on the doctor at the exam said i was in bad shape can u shed any light for me ease

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Cat,

          It appears that your claim is being thoroughly investigated. If you are disabled, a thorough investigation is to your advantage.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

  43. Louis says:

    I had a Consultative Examination today and from what I read the doctor doing the exam usually only does a 10 minute exam. I was with the doctor for almost 50 minutes. He did a bunch of things and when we went into his actual office I noticed on the diagnosis paper he put depression, poly neuropathy , mono neuropathy and 3 other things I couldn’t make out. He then said to me I have conditions that need to be treated and he said I will write you up a good report but you have to be patient. Does this sound like this could go my way? Also I have a question I don’t work and am separated from my spouse how would that work if I was to be accepted? Thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Louis,

      It sounds as if the consulting physician plans to write up that you are limited by your various conditions, but it will still take a while to get a decision. Be aware that Social Security considers the doctor’s report but they do not ask the doctor whether you are disabled–only what their findings are. I do not understand what you are asking in your second question.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  44. s. berry says:

    My son has applied for SSI he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. They told us his application was in its last stage that it was sent to the doctors what does this mean.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear S.,

      Your son’s claim has been reviewed by the disability claims examiner and has been sent to a staff physician for review of the examiner’s recommended decision. Once the physician reviews it, either your son will receive a decision or the physician will recommend more investigation.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  45. Crystal says:

    HI Kay
    I was wondering, I applied for disabiltiy in October of 2014,
    they had called me 0n 12-29-14 and ask me if the last time I was at a
    doctor was in May. but that was not true, I was in october. why wouldnt they have my up to date file. and i ask if they was sending me to there doctor and she said no. Is that a bad sign. I have scolios and i also was born with a birth defect called klippel-feil syndrome, but I never let it stop me from working, as I am getting older my body can’t handle the work i used to do. I was cna.
    thank you

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Crystal,

      It is hard to say why the Disability Determination Services doesn’t have your records, but I do suggest that you call the examiner and ask if he or she needs your recent medical records; and, if so, whether he or she needs you to get them.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  46. Valerie says:

    Hello, I applied for disability in January 2014 for anxiety. I constantly lose feelings in my legs and sometimes have trouble walking for days because of this. I had a mini stroke and lost vision in my left eye..my doctor sent me to a nuerologist for testing for ms. The tests came back normal and he explained to me that anxiety could cause these nuerological symptoms. My examiner said that I needed to take a physical and mental exam but it is backed up at least 2 months from now. I made an appointment to see a psycologist myself and got the mental health testing done. He informed me that i have severe anxiety and depression and also scitzophrania. Is it possible to get approved with these results? My medical examiner said that once the psycologist gave me an exact diagnosis, we should be all she needs. I have a good feeling I will be approved, I have turned in every medical record that I have, got written letters from family and friends detailing my disabilty but I was wondering if you suggest anything else I could do to make my case better? It has been a year since I applied and Im just starting to get a little nervous. Are these disorders plus my “attacks” and physical disorders enough to possibly get approved for disability?

    Thanks,
    Valerie

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Valerie,

      It was a good idea to get the mental examination done in order to hopefully speed up the processing of your claim. The remark by the examiner about receiving the diagnosis seems hopeful. Without seeing your claim file, I can’t say whether there is anything you could submit related to your physical limitations that are not connected to your mental disorder that could help the claim.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Valerie says:

        Thanks Kay,

        Also, the psycologist only gave me a bunch of written tests for the mental exam. Is that normal?I thought he was going to ask me questions to see how well I remember and things of that nature. He said he faxed the results over to my examiner. Is it possible that a written test is all that they need or should I ask for more testing??

        Thanks,
        Valerie

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Valerie,

          The written test is probably a psychological evaluation to diagnose whether a mental illness is present and, if so, what. A memory test would likely be testing for a cognitive disorder such as dementia or the after effects of a traumatic brain injury. If the written test was a thorough assessment, it may be all that is needed for them to make a decision on your claim.

          Sincerely,
          Kay

          • Valerie says:

            Dear Kay, Thanks for your response.I talked with my disability examiner and she said she forwarded my records from the psycologist to the doctor for review.Is this the last step to find out if I am approved or not? Around How long does this process usually take? If approved, will I possibly recieve payment by next month?

            Thanks again,
            Valerie

          • Kay Derochie says:

            Dear Valerie,

            Assuming the doctor finds everything in order for the recommended approval or denial decision, your claim she be in the final phase of review. If you are approved for Social Security Disability, it takes two to three months for payments to start. If you are approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), payment, which is authorized out of your local office, typically take one to two months to start. All time frames are estimates only.

            Sincerely,
            Kay

  47. Drew Valentine says:

    Kay,
    Once again I come to you for your knowledge. Why would a ALJ request for me to have a physical exam……after the hearing process. I have asked many. And everyone says that it was not common to have this done. I am surprised by this because I felt my Rep and I had more than enough evidence for him to make a decision!! Thanks for your time!!!

    Drew!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Drew,

      Not frequently, but sometimes, judges request additional medical information after a hearing. This will be done when the judge has some question about your condition that was not yet answered. Be sure to attend the examination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  48. meme says:

    Hi, My Husband age 49 applied for ssdi in late aug 2014 and has had a laminectomy of the l-4/5/6 and has arthritis with spinal stenosis. He has history of mild depression whch has worsened since his back surgery. He has been to a mental exam in oct through social security. Now jan 8 received a letter stating he has a physical exam in feb. His previous work was a roofer and tree trimmer that he is no longer able to do because of his injuries. Just to add he cant do anything anymore, and he was a very active person before his injury. My question is because they are sending him to a medical exam this late in the process do you think he will be denied at this stage?
    Thank you

    • meme says:

      I should add that he has a 6th grade education and some what illiterate.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Meme,

      I am responding to both your posts. First, the scheduled examination is not an indication your husband will be denied. It is important to let the claims examiner know that your husband has a 6th grade education and to describe his literacy limitations. If he is denied, I recommend appealing with an attorney. You can obtain a knowledgeable Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  49. Araceli says:

    Hi Kay,
    My husband is 42 diagnosed with Chronic Liver Cirrhosis and has ear Malformation in which is engorged has had 3 surgeries ear ambolization w Coiling, His health and speech has detiorated . He has applied since June 2014 and has not been working since May 2013 due to his illness, he has his CE evaluation today 1/9/15, What are the chances for him to get approved?
    Thanks
    Celi

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Araceli,

      I can’t predict whether your husband will be approved. It depends on his physical limitations and his educational and work backgrounds. If there are no occupations he can perform with the speech and hearing deficits and any physical limitations fro his liver condition, he will be approved. If he is denied and you disagree with the reasons, I suggest getting a copy of his claim file and appealing with a good Social Security attorney.You can obtain a knowledgeable Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  50. Valerie says:

    Hi Kay, my case is now closed and being sent to the local social security office.Is this a good sign?

    Thanks,
    Valerie

    • Valerie says:

      Thanks for you response Kay. I was approved medically, and now I am just waiting for an appointment for nonmedical review!

      Thanks,
      Valerie

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Valerie,

      If your claim shows up as closed on http://www.ssa.gov/mysocialsecurity, then your claim may have been denied. Otherwise, it would still show as pending. If the examiner said it was closed, she may just mean that they are finished with the medical decision and the decision could be an approval or denial.

      If you are denied, I recommend requesting a copy of your claim file so you can read the determination memo. If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal within sixty days of the date of the denial letter. If you appeal, it would be a good idea to have an attorney who specializes in Social Security prepare your reconsideration appeal. You can obtain a knowledgeable Social Security attorney by calling Disability Advisor at 1-888-393-1010. You do not have to pay any legal fees up front and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award at the time it sends your back pay to you. So, it’s all very easy and risk-free.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  51. Susie says:

    In 2013 I had rotor cuff surgery…was out of work 3 months…then went back….still having pain after 2months into work found out it never healed and I had torn 3 tendons and had shoulder impigment syndrome ….. Had revision surgery in November 2014 after finding out therapy wasn’t working so dr had X-rays and MRI and that was when he told me I needed to have revision surgery and that I had 3 torn tendons….. And I also have a large tear on other shoulder that will need surgery when this ones all healed. I’ve been in healthcare since I’ve been 15. And now I am 48…the last 10 tears I’ve worked as a certified nurses aide and years before was working in people’s homes doing home health care…..I myself don’t feel safe doing this work anymore because of the wear and tear on my shoulders and weakness I would not feel safe lifting and taking care of the elderly. I applied for ssdi in late December of 2013 was denied so got a disability lawyer and appealed and now was denied second time but now am waiting for a hearing date…..I also have a 15 year old girl to take care of too…..what are my chances of winning my hearing and will my 15 year old be awarded also because she’s my child?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susie,

      If you do not have the education or transferable skills to work in lighter work, your claim could be approved. The fact that an attorney took your case indicates that you have a reasonable chance of approval. It sounds as if you have worked enough to have a family maximum benefit high enough to allow payment of benefits for your daughter if you are approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  52. sherry says:

    I applied for my daughter who have asthma and broke both of her fema bones and have a 504 plan at school the dds said I may have to take her to see one of there doctors then I call him he said they made a decision already and its gone be sent to quality control

  53. Shannon says:

    I had a stroke in August of 2014, I was a waitress before the stroke so I have not been able to go back to work as of yet, because I still have left side limitations. I have already applied for disabilty I even applied for presumptive benefites in October. I got a letter last week to go see a Dr. For more medical evidence on the 26th of this month. I applied for disabilty because I can’t work right now because of my limitations from the stroke but my dr can’t get my blood pressure under control and I have diabetes also. When I was in the hospital for my stroke they could not get my blood pressure or diabetes to stable out either. Do you think they might use one of these conditions as a basis to determine my disability even though I didn’t apply because of them but I have had a problem with it for years and probably is some of the cause for my stroke along with stress. How long do you think it will take after I see the dr they are sending me to for some type of answer?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Shannon,

      Social Security will consider all your medical conditions. I suggest calling the claims examiner to be sure that she is aware of your uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood pressure and any limitations you have because of your diabetes (having diabetes in itself is not a reason not to work) so that everything can be considered.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  54. DenRad says:

    I have a question, I was one of the lucky one’s who applied for SSDI because I was badly beaten near death causing me to have PTSD. I filled out all their paperwork with no lawyer and sent a 100 page book of what happens now in my daily life. With in a few weeks I was approved. They told me though after the 3 years on the program they will require a med review so I filled out the one sheet document in Oct 2014 and Jan 2015 I received another letter stating disregard for that med exam until later. But the IRS told me that if approved after the first 3 years then they will re-check me in another 7 years. I am 57 years old. Does the letter that I received telling me no exam at this time is needed mean it will be another 7 years before I get checked again?

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear DenRad,

      Yes, you will likely have another update in seven years, but I would not worry about it. If your condition doesn’t improve substantially, benefits will continue. (By the way, I am not sure you mean the IRS; do you mean SSA?)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  55. Susan says:

    Kay, I applied for SSDI back in October. I started my claim on September when I stopped working, but didn’t know that I had worked a couple of weeks that month. My case went to dds in November, and I was sent functional reports for both my mother and myself to complete. These were sent back within the allotted time frame, actually early. I am applying for seizures, migraines and neck pain from multiple auto accidents. I went to the ER in December after having fallen in the house during a seizure-a fall at work was what prompted me using FMLA and applying for disability. (it had occurred during a seizure) I followed up with the examiner from dds, making sure that they would get the paperwork. It showed my medication levels were low, but that could be due to a uti. I am also pregnant, so my body may be metabolizing the med differently. I immediately contacted the Dr, and my meds were increased. This past week I followed up, to make sure they received everything, and to let them know that I am facing foreclosure on my home due to not having income. I was off work two years ago when I had a seizure that caused an auto accident, this was the beginning of my disability. The examiner told me he was still missing my physical therapy notes, and stated if he didn’t get them he would have to make a decision without them. I followed up and they are being sent this week. I also received a notice from my local rehabilitation services that they would not be able to help me find employment, as my physician stated I would need to be out of work until 9/2015. (just due to seizures, not looking at other issues) I know the importance of the pt notes, as I also noted I have a rtc injury that prohibits me from lifting. My neck injury affects my shoulder-all the muscles. I have been receiving medical tx throughout this, at times paid for by my auto insurance. My migraines have affected me to the point I leave work, have to work in a dark room, etc. Even people’s deodorant can cause a migraine. I read all about the fact that they want to look at other jobs- I would consider a therapist a pretty sedentary job. I lost consciousness with two patients in my office, documented at work and with my physician. I would wander around the building, not knowing what I was doing. I feel like I am mixed messages – he is placing importance on the pt notes, but has specialist notes, from the past three years. He tells me if he doesn’t get the notes, he will forward my case on to the doctor. Will the documentation that I should be off work for a year hinder my case? How do they look at pregnancy? I took my FMLA even before my pregnancy, due to seizures. I had received short term disability until my leave(s) were exhausted.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Susan,

      I suggest calling the examiner to tell him that you have mailed the physical therapy notes. Also mention that vocational rehabilitation has declined to provide services because it is not known when you can work. Your doctor saying that you cannot work for a year helps rather than hinders your claim because you have to be disabled or be expected to be disabled a year to receive benefits. Pregnancies don’t last a year and return to sedentary work is usually four weeks postpartum so being pregnant by itself is a neutral event, especially if you tell them you became pregnant after leaving work due to seizures. I assume that you have already provided the documentation from your workplace about seizures at work. If you haven’t, you should do so very quickly.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  56. Cindy says:

    So if my private LTD sends me to a doctor and they pay for it is there any law that says I can’t request there report directly from the doctor. I leave in Iowa. I know my LTD ins. is required to send it to me within a 30 days of my request.

    Thank you
    for your time

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Cindy,

      Usually private insurance companies, upon your written request and authorization, will release a copy of consultative examination reports to your private physician.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  57. Brenna says:

    I am 55 years old and on May 6, 2014 I had thyroid surgery and in the process the doctor cut the right nerve to the vocal chord. I no longer can talk very loudly. I also have a 8 inch scar that will not heal and swells daily and looks like I have a egg in the middle of my neck. Not only have I lost my voice but I have depression. I applied but now am being sent to a doctor for my depression. In order for me to drink any liquids I have to turn my neck to the left and it looks and feels like constantly I have a tight rope on my neck. I have worked all my life and now I can’t. Why are they sending me to another doctor?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Brenna,

      Apparently, the claim examiner wants some information about your condition that is not answered in the information already in your claim file. Be sure to attend the examination. Also, you could call the examiner and ask for a list of the medical records and statements they have in file to be sure that all the information you want considered is in file. (For records, ask for the dates covered.)

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • Brenna says:

        I went for my appt with the physiologist and that was 2 weeks ago and today I was called and they are wanting to send me to a doctor for my voice. Why 2 doctor apps? When they talk to me on the phone they can tell I have not much of a voice. Good sign or bad sign?

        Thanks

        • Kay Derochie says:

          Dear Brenna,

          Each of the doctors has a different specialty and you have more than one medical problem, so they are sending you to two different specialists. This is a sign that your claim is being thoroughly investigated but not a sign of whether it will be approved or denied.
          Sincerely,
          Kay

  58. martha palmer says:

    My adult nephew (53 years old) has is mentally challenged and has issues with depression and anxiety. He has lived with his mother his whole life. In addition to his mental issues, he has severe back problems. His mother has never applied for disability for him. We are now starting the process. Next week is will have his first evaluation by a primary physician. If the doctor says he needs to see a mental health professional, will he direct us to that professional? Will we have to pay for that evaluation? I am paying for the initial physical evaluation because he has no insurance or medicaid. My funds are limited. I do not live in the same city and state as my nephew and his mother. I am arranging all of his medical evaluations via long distance and traveling to his location to transport him to his appointments. This is the first time I’ve dealt with Social Security Disability payments. It’s quite a maize!

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Martha,

      You have to pay for all medical and mental evaluations that you set up. If the Social Security Administration needs more information than you provide, they may send your nephew for a consultative examination at SSA’s expense. You do not have control over whether or not SSA orders an examination or what type of exam it might be. If you can afford it, it would be good to have a mental assessment of your nephew done by a pyschologist. Be sure to state on the examination that your nephew lacks ongoing records because of lack of insurance and that you have recently stepped in to help out.

      If your nephew still doesn’t have health insurance by the last quarter of this year, I suggest that he apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) when there is an open enrollment period late in the year. More information is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  59. martha palmer says:

    After spending a few minutes with my nephew, his mental challenges become apparent. Could the primary care physician possibly verify that he has a mental disorder? Does that ever happen?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Martha,

      Possibly the primary care physician will pick up on your nephew’s mental limitations or disorders; but, unless your nephews condition is very severe, it is likely that more analysis as to its severity and how it affects function by a mental health expert will be needed. Please also see my response to your prior question.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  60. Lakisha smith says:

    Hi my son had an appointment with disability determined doctor in I call him today an he say his appointment has been cancel to see the doctor so I call social sec office n there sayn his case is pending.So I called back an told the guy that was work n his case that Ssi administration say his case pending so he say they have enough information to determine his case I’m guessing after they got information from his councilor an he say I shoid be received something in the mail..Can he be denied?

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Lakisha,

      While it is possible that your son could still be denied at this point, there is a reasonably possibility that he will be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  61. Lakisha smith says:

    An say his case is closed with DDS cause they have enough information.

  62. JS says:

    Hello,

    I applied for disability in Dec. 2014. I recently was reviewed by a disability doctor. Can I obtain the report and his findings of my evaluation?

    Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear J.S.,

      Social Security will often not release a report directly to the claimant but will release to the attending physician who could explain any medical terms. You can request that a copy of the report be sent to you or, if that is not possible, to your attending physician. Another way to get it is, if your claim is denied, you can request a copy of the claim file for your appeal.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  63. E says:

    Hi Kay, thank you for your wonderfully helpful site. This is all so confusing for me. I applied for SSI online back in July/August 2014 not realizing they only accepted SSDI apps online. I didn’t make an appointment until December. At that meeting they had a copy of my online application and they said I’d done such a good job they didn’t really need anything more from me. I have multiple mental illnesses, but I also have a back problem. I didn’t get my function and work history reports in on time (didn’t see a deadline), but the examiner was very helpful and I have a long history of mental illness. She said they only consider the last two years, and I’m not sure if she means two years before the date I sent my online application in or two years before my December appointment.

    I talked to her today and she said she received my reports Feb 2. They are sending me to a doctor for an x-ray and evaluation of my back, but not to a psychiatrist. This is really concerning. I thought they sent all mental health cases to one of their doctors. The examiner also said they’ve already made a decision regarding “that part” of my case. She knows but can’t tell me what it is. I can’t imagine how they could make a decision that quickly, especially since they just got my function and work history reports last week. This really doesn’t sound good for me. Can you provide me with any insight or advice? I’m absolutely terrified.

    Thanks so much for your help.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear E.,

      Not all mental health evaluations require the claimant to go to a mental health consultative examination. If your psychiatry records are well-documented, they together with your activities of daily living question (if asked for one) may have provided enough information to make a decision. Given that you are also being sent for a back evaluation, it is possible that they did not find your psychiatric condition disabling. The other possibility is that they did determine your mental condition is disabiling but they think it will improve, and they want to see if you have a back condition that will be permanent.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  64. J.S. says:

    Hi Kay,

    A couple months after I started my disability process , Disability Determination Bureau sent a letter wanting me to authorize the release of my medical records to the Social Security Administration. Is this normal procedure or does this look like I might have a chance of getting approved?

    Thanks.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear J.S.

      Signing an authorization for release of medical information is routine. Usually it is done at application, but perhaps it was overlooked in your case.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  65. Duke skipwith says:

    Hi kay
    Im 25yrs i only worked for 3months wen i was 19
    20,i have chf,,afib,hypertension,edema in my legs due ro chf,im morbid obesity i have.extreme pain in joints i cant stand more than 30mins cant really sit to long ither i have to elevate my legs so the dont go num
    Im also blind in one eye and my good eye vision is 20/400 ,,i filed for disability in may of 2014 got denied in October i reconsideration in nov as of now the examiners been contacting me asking questions
    I had a attorney the whole way
    He stated that i meet nd equally legal blindness listing and for my chf ,could this mean
    I could be approved soon ,ive have no insurance so only treatments i had was free clinics ,eye doctors,and the ssa exam

    Thanks

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Duke,

      Please see my reply to your original post under “How Does Social Security Decide How Much SSI to Pay When I Get an SSI Approval?”

      Thanks,
      Kay

  66. trina says:

    HELLO KIM MY LOCAL HOSPITAL APPLIED FOR SS FOR ME AND I WAS DENIED FOUR TIMES NOW THE LAWYED DID MY CASE A NEW ONE AND SS SENT ME TO THE DISABILITY DOC FOR A PHYSICAL AND A XRAY I CHECKED ON LINE PRIOR AND IT KEPT SAYING WORKING ON THE MEDICAL PORTION OF MY CASE WELL IVE BEEN TO THE DISABILITY DOC AND WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME THUS FAR PLEASE HELP ME GET A PEACE OF MIND THE DOC TOLD MY MOM I WOULD HEAR SOMETHING IN TWO WEEKS HELP STRUGGLED. THOUGHTS

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trina,

      The doctor cannot predict how long it will take Social Security to complete your claim review. It can take anywhere from a month to two months or more to get a decision after a consultative examination.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      • trina says:

        In YOUR OPINION IS THAT A GOOD THINg GOING THROUGH ALL THIS I HAVENT BEEN ABLE TO BE MY NORMAL SELF SINCE 2009 its so hard when you know you have a problem and you get fed up and you have to go through so much to get help you truly need its sad

  67. Anitra Smith says:

    Dear Kay,

    I haveb been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, cervical radiculopathy,spinal stenosis, lumbar radiculopathy, double crush syndrome, straightening of the spine, and ulnar neuropathy. I apied for ssdi in November 2014 I received a letter in the mail from ssa requesting me to take a mental exam. But I don’t have to take a physical exam. Is that a good sign? My psychiatrist has already diagnosed me with anxiety, panick attacks and major depression disorder what are my chances.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Anitra,

      The consultative examination could have been requested because you have not been found physically disabled and they are trying to determine whether you are mentally disabled or it could be that you have been found physically disabled and the exam is to determine whether you are mentally capable of managing your benefits to pay your basic needs before other purchases or you need a representative payee to receive your benefits and manage your money.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  68. Anitra Smith says:

    Kay,

    Thanks for replying. The letter says thst available records are insufficient and additional information is needed. It is a mental status exam for conditions: general anxiety. Does this help to narrow it down. Sounds like it could go either way.

  69. trina says:

    Hi kay you wrote me back from what i explained to you is that something good or bad the way my whole lain is goinig now all the denials now them sending me all this paper work to fill out and then going to see their contracted disability. Doctor im truly confused

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Trina,

      It is good that your claim is being carefully reviewed as evidenced by the additional information and examination requested. If you do meet the disability criteria, the careful review should reveal that you are.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  70. ashlee says:

    Hi, i was diagnosed at 14 with ptsd, severe depression, bipolar, social anxiety, & insomnia, after being hospitalized for self mutilation & a suicide attempt. The psycatrist that i had said my illness was permanent but guarded. I am now 23. Ive been receiving social security since i was 16 & my case is up for review. Now my question is, they wany me to go see one of their doctors.. i have not been to my psycatrist since last year, august i believe is the last time i went, my anxiety & depression is out of control, i rarely leave my house.. does social security want me to see their doctors because they think im better since i havent seen my psycatrist in a few months? I did a walk in at the mental health clinic today because i need to get back on my medication, should i reschedule my appointment with the social security doctors, until i’ve seen my psycatrist? I am really stressed out about this review, i cannot function like a normal person, i barely even get out of bed.

    • Kay Derochie says:

      Dear Ashlee,

      I do not know whether trying to reschedule your appointment would have a detrimental effects on the review of your claim. You are being asked to go to an independent consultative examination because you do not have any current medical history, which could be construed as an indication that you are better. You should get an appointment with your psychiatrist as soon as possible so that your usual doctor can create current records based on his current assessment of you. This, however, will not necessarily mean that the consultative examination will be canceled.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

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