Cindy Speaker: Good afternoon. My name is Cindy Speaker, and I have with me today, as my guest, Attorney Winslow Butts of Gardberg & Kemmerly. She’s a Social Security Disability attorney. Winslow, how’re you doing?
Winslow Butts: I’m doing good. How are you doing? Thank you for having me.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, I’m delighted to have. I’m delighted to have you. So, we’re going to talk about consultative examinations today. My first question is, why would the Social Security Administration schedule one, and what exactly is it?
Winslow Butts: Yeah, a consultative examination is basically when Social Security schedules a claimant, somebody applying for disability, schedules them a doctor’s appointment. They either do it because they don’t think that they have enough evidence in order to make a disability determination, or they want just some kind of clarification of the evidence that they already have. So, they would schedule an appointment with one of their doctors. It is an independent doctor, but they are paid by Social Security. So, they would schedule an appointment with that doctor.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, so this can’t be with your family doctor?
Winslow Butts: No, it cannot be. Usually, Social Security just sends you a letter telling you where to be and when, and all you have to do is just show up.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, I see. Is it a bad sign if they ask for this examination? Does that mean they’re probably going to deny you?
Winslow Butts: No, not at all. Usually, it just means that either the person wasn’t seeing that many doctors, so they need more evidence, or maybe they just wanted to get kind of a clarification between two different doctors that the person has seen. So it’s not a good sign or a bad sign. It just means that Social Security wants more.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, okay. Now, what do you need to take to this examination? What kind of information do they need?
Winslow Butts: The first thing that the person needs to bring is definitely their ID. A doctor will not see them unless they have a government-issued photo ID. So, that’s the biggest thing. We always like for clients to also bring in their … If they have their X-ray reports or their MRI reports to bring those in. Social Security is supposed to send these doctors their own records, so that they can kind of know something about the person, but it’s good just to have in case for some reason the doctor did not get it from Social Security.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, and how can this consultative examination … that’s a mouthful.
Winslow Butts: I know.
Cindy Speaker: How can it affect the Social Security Disability claim?
Winslow Butts: It can help you. If for some reason you don’t go, that could definitely hurt you, because Social Security would see that as you’re not cooperating with them. But it can definitely help for you to go and have a doctor check you out and show exactly what your problems are, and then, usually, they give some kind of limitations like how long a claimant could sit or stand. So, it definitely can help people get approved, but could also hurt them if you either don’t go or don’t cooperate.
Cindy Speaker: How long of a process is this? Is it like usually very in-depth or …
Winslow Butts: How long of the examination is it?
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, the examination, is it really comprehensive?
Winslow Butts: That is one of the problems that people have with the CEs is that they do not last for that long. Most the times, people are only seen by that doctor maybe 10 minutes. So, it’s a good thing, but it’s not like somebody’s actual doctor is the one seeing them. It’s just somebody that’s spending a few minutes with you, and then they kind of make a decision based on that.
Cindy Speaker: Yeah, I can see where that would be concerning. I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but are there any statistics on how often they are approved once they have the CE exam?
Winslow Butts: Not really statistics. Most people at the initial level, once they had just first filed with Social Security, the majority of people are denied whether it’s because of the CE, the consultative examination, or if it’s just because Social Security didn’t have enough for them to get approved. Most people are denied initially, and then we have to appeal it.
Cindy Speaker: Okay. Let me ask you because you’re Social Security disability attorney. If someone has questions, how can they reach your office?
Winslow Butts: They can reach our office by calling our main number. It is 251-343-1111 or go to our website at GardbergLaw.com.
Cindy Speaker: Very good. Sounds like it’s a good idea if they call you to consult on the CE just so they’re well prepared.
Winslow Butts: It definitely is. Just so they can know what to bring. We give them tips as far as how to interact with the doctor, what to do, what not to do. So they definitely should call us if they do have a consultative examination scheduled.
Cindy Speaker: Excellent, excellent. Winslow, thanks for your time today.
Winslow Butts: Thank you, thank you.
Cindy Speaker: Okay, so, those of you that are watching either live or replay, you can just leave your questions right on this page. We’ll get them answered for you, and we appreciate your time. Bye everybody.