When California residents submit a Social Security Disability Insurance or SSI claim, the cases will be assigned to a disability examiner who is authorized to decide on claims at the disability application level and during reconsideration appeals. If more information is required, the applicant may be asked for this information or scheduled for an examination appointment.

Applicants who are required to undergo an examination will receive a letter advising them of the consultative examination, or CE. These examinations are conducted by either a physician or psychologist who is tasked with obtaining information for the Social Security Administration that may not be available in the applicant’s record. A CE may also be conducted if the applicant has no medical records that are dated no earlier than the last 90 days.

In order for the SSA to classify an individual as disabled, the agency requires verification that the individual has the disability at the time the claim is being reviewed. As a result, the disability examiner or disability judge, if applicable, need to be able to review current records.

During the majority of consultative exams, the applicant will undergo a brief physical exam. The exams may not reveal any new information for the case, but having the exam completed allows the disability examiner to render a decision on the case as they are required to do so only when they have the most recent information. In some cases, the CE is needed so that a memory evaluation, X-ray, psychiatric exam or mental IQ examination can be conducted.

An attorney who handles SSDI matters may help a client appeal denied claims of benefits. The attorney could assist with obtaining documents of a client’s inability to work. If necessary, legal counsel may advocate on behalf of the client at disability hearings to ensure their rights are protected.