Sometimes, people with disabilities still get refused for Social Security benefits. If you have a case going on that has been denied and is in appeal, chances are good that you will have prove your medical issues through an exam by an independent doctor. Sometimes you will also need an exam in the initial stage of your application, usually because you haven’t been seen by a doctor in some time or medical evidence of your disability does not meet certain guidelines.
Before you agree to a medical exam, it may be wise to consult with your Social Security disability lawyer, who can guide you through the process and make sure your exam is adequate to prove your case. You should also keep in mind these tips for dealing with an independent medical evaluation:
1. Don’t try to befriend your doctor.
Doctors usually don’t work directly for the Social Security Administration or the government, but only approved doctors perform evaluations.
In order to stay on the “approved” list to carry out and be paid for these exams, the doctor you see may be somewhat biased against on-the-edge disability cases like yours. (That’s not a condemnation of the doctor, but it’s natural to unconsciously side with the person paying the bill.) This means that you want to be cautious about what you say regarding your condition, as anything you discuss with the doctor will go into the notes for the case.
Be polite and answer any questions you are asked, but don’t volunteer information, past diagnoses or opinions during your exam.
2. Consciously communicate the difficulties or pain that your disability is causing.
The one exception to not volunteering any information about your condition is when it comes to pain or problems that you are facing. Be very upfront about the pain you feel and what changes to your lifestyle you have had to make to accommodate your disability. You want the doctor to fully understand the issues you deal with, as best he or she can in a short exam.
3. Don’t be a hero.
Many people with disabilities are used to hiding the pain in public or trying to act like the problem doesn’t bother you. This is not the time to hide anything. If it hurts to get up on the exam table, make a point of saying so and showing that it causes you discomfort.
If you use a cane, walker or wheelchair to get around, make sure you do so for the entire time you are at the medical practitioner’s office. Some people only use these when the pain is exceedingly great, and may forego taking them to the doctor or using them for some of the visit. You don’t want to be dishonest, but don’t minimize the issues you have.
4. Document your experience.
You may also want to take notes from your perspective of the exam, including the questions the doctor asked you, what tests he or she performed and how long the exam lasted. Add this to all the documentation you have about your condition.
Your Social Security disability lawyer can answer any questions you have about the process and what to expect.
To speak with an attorney, contact a lawyer such as Ball & Ferrari.