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As anyone who has filed a disability claim in the past understands, the Social Security Administration may ask for an extensive amount of information before approving you for benefits. This is especially true for conditions such as mental illness, where there is not always a clear, objective test to verify the extent to which the condition exists. In addition to your medical records, disability application forms, and activities of daily living questionnaire, you may also be asked to submit to a consultative exam and provide access to the opinions of people in your life.

Consultative Exam

In some cases, the disability determination agency assigned to your case may determine that it needs more information in order to make a decision about your disability benefits claim. When this happens, the claims examiner will request that you to submit to a consultative exam. This typically means that your own treating doctor, such as a psychiatrist at the Medical Center of Plano, will perform the examination. Alternatively, the Social Security Administration may refer you to a psychiatrist for the exam.

Statements From Third Parties

In addition to the possibility of a consultative exam, the Social Security Administration may also seek the input of third parties in order to make a determination regarding your impairment and resulting disability benefits. Some of the people that may be contacted to speak about your mental illness and how it impacts your ability to function include the following:

  1. Social workers
  2. Former employers
  3. Friends and family
  4. Teachers
  5. Probation officers

While the application process for disability benefits can be daunting, you do not have to navigate it alone. An excellent first step is to read our free Social Security Disability Fact Sheet. In addition to helpful facts about the application process, this guide will also provide you with helpful tips to improve your chances for having your application approved. And if you would like to discuss the specific details of your case, please contact our office by phone or using our online contact form.

Morgan & Weisbrod LLP

by Paul B. Burkhalter
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.


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