Keep in mind that most people applying for Social Security disability benefits are doing so for back pain. This means that the consultative examiners are used to testing solely for back pain and giving limitations based off of back pain. The doctor will ask you to stand and walk, they will ask you to hop on one foot walk on your toes, walk on your heels and other exercises that are designed to see if someone has back pain. This is fine unless your issue is something like migraines or heart disease where you won’t have any symptoms that show up with these tests.
Your consultative exam is also not going to last very long. While the mental exams are usually an hour or more, the physical exams are usually about fifteen minutes or less. Whether this is enough time to get a good idea of what you can and cannot do is a matter for another post. Be prepared that it will be a quick appointment. Try to answer the doctor’s questions as best you can.
Try not to hurt yourself but give it your best effort when the doctor asks you to do something. With a lot of medical conditions it will be difficult to hop on one foot or squat. If you really can’t do something – say so. But you don’t want the doctor to think that you aren’t giving your best effort on the exam.
Be aware that the doctor and his staff are also watching you in the waiting room and probably as you go to and from your car. While you might not be faking your symptoms, Social Security knows that it has the (unearned) reputation for having undeserving people on its books collecting benefits. This is one of their chances to see if people are as disabled as they say. You do not need to exaggerate your symptoms as you walk to the door. Just be aware that you might be watched.
These exams are not worth stressing over. Tell the doctor the truth about your conditions and symptoms. Explain what you can do on an average day and what your worst days are like. This is not the time to pretend that everything is fine, but it’s also not the time to cry and scream and act like you are in horrible pain if you are not. Remember, Social Security will compare your exam to your medical records. Like everything else with Social Security, tell the truth and move on.
If you have any further questions, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231