Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law
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Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

As a business owner, keeping informed about the finer points of employment law is important. If you're getting ready to hire your first employees, you need to be sure that you understand exactly what you can and cannot do. Don't risk getting yourself into legal trouble by asking the wrong question at the interview or making an off-hand comment that's considered legally unacceptable. I created this site to give you the basics of employment law expectations. I hope that the information here helps you to understand what you should and shouldn't do as you're interviewing and hiring your first staff members.


Employer Fundamentals: Understanding Employment Law

How To Handle A Consultative Review For Your Social Security Disability Claim

Irene Robertson

The wait to get a decision on your Social Security Disability claim can be excruciating. Adding to your frustration, the disability examiner charged with making decisions in your case contacts you and says that the agency wants you to go to a doctor that you've never seen before for something called a "consultative examination." 

Here's what you need to know about consultative exams, including what to expect and how to handle yourself. 

What Is A Consultative Exam?

Consultative exams with independent physicians are paid for by the Social Security Administration for one of the following reasons:

  • Your medical records are fairly old and you haven't been to see a physician in a while.
  • Not all of your doctors responded to the Social Security Administration's request for evidence.
  • There are inconsistencies or conflicts of some kind in the medical records you do have.
  • The disability examiner feels like there needs to be more objective proof of your condition.

Consultative exams can be performed for either physical or mental conditions and may involve various kinds of testing, including mental health assessments, x-rays, MRIs and other diagnostic measures.

What Can You Expect At A Consultative Exam?

It's important to understand that most of the doctors who do these "independent" exams draw a significant portion of their income from these referrals from the government. If a doctor is seen as overly sympathetic toward disability claimants, they stop getting referrals -- so many are looking for ways to discredit a claim. 

Some of the other problems with a consultative exam are:

  • You have no established doctor-patient relationship with the person making the evaluation and the doctor may not have any information about you before you get there.
  • These exams are typically very brief, which means that the doctor is doing -- at best -- a cursory examination.

Despite these issues, you can't refuse to attend the exam because your claim could then be denied due to your "lack of cooperation." If you miss the appointment without a good reason, the claims examiner will make a decision on your case without it -- and you can bet that the decision won't be in your favor.

How Can You Mitigate Problems With A Consultative Exam?

With all the negatives that come along with a consultative examination, it's helpful to understand what you can do to mitigate any problems you might encounter. Here are some tips:

  • Take your medical records with you. If you have them handy, you can turn them over to the doctor and make sure that he or she has a complete file to review before your exam.
  • Take a friend or relative with you. The presence of a witness can prevent the doctor from taking an abrasive or slapdash approach to your exam.

Often, the best way to mitigate these kinds of problems is to have a Social Security lawyer evaluate your claim and help you present it to the Social Security Administration when you file. Attorneys with experience handling these claims tend to know exactly what the agency needs to see and they can help you avoid the need for a consultative exam in the first place. Contact one like Todd East Attorney at Law near you to see how they can help you.