Being unable to work at your job because of a medical condition can be depressing and both emotionally and financially draining. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides those who qualify with financial help through monthly financial payments. However, the road to getting approved for benefits can be long and complicated, in addition to being filled with detours and roadblocks. One potential detour is the disability consultative medical exam (CME). This is a very special type of medical exam, so read on to learn more so that you will be prepared if the SSA requests that you undergo one.
Does everyone have to undergo a CME?
No, and the reasons that you may be asked are important to consider, since they could be red flags for your eventual approval for benefits. One of the biggest hoops the SSA requires you to jump through is the medical condition qualifications, and the lack of proof for your medical condition could trigger a need for this exam. The SSA needs to see not only a complete set of medical records pertaining to your medical condition, but also a pattern of consistent treatment for your condition. If your medical records are incomplete or you have not had sufficient medical treatment for your condition, you may be targeted for the CME.
For example, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common wrist and hand condition that makes it difficult to do small tasks, such as typing on a keyboard. You must be able to show that you sought medical help for your condition as soon as you noticed a problem, that you had regular visits with your doctor about this issue and that you followed all prescribed protocols, such as medication, therapy and surgery. Additionally, you must be prepared to show medical records that prove your record of treatment for this issue.
What happens at a CME?
There is no charge for this exam, but you must see a doctor that the SSA chooses for you. This exam focuses on evaluating your condition, not treatment. You should not expect to be given any advice or prescriptions from this doctor. This is very likely a one-time event, so you should continue to see your regular doctor for any treatment related to your condition.
The CME doctor will pay close attention to the exact body part or medical condition that you listed in your application. For example, if you state that you have peripheral neuropathy because of diabetes, the doctor will examine your extremities to determine the level of blood flow, numbness, tingling etc that affects people with this disorder and prevents them from doing their jobs.
You have the right to appeal any denial of benefits based on a CME or for any other reason. Talk to a social security attorney as soon as possible.