For those that are afflicted with an illness that makes doing their jobs impossible, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides help. Just as you've paid into the system with each dollar you've earned, you can now retrieve that income in the form of Social Security disability payments. One of the main issues with getting these valuable benefits is providing proof of your medical condition to the SSA. Read on to learn what the SSA needs to see in the form of proof and a special kind of medical exam that you might be asked to undergo.
Proof of your medical condition
You may have an illness that leaves you too sick to do your job, but unfortunately, you cannot be approved for the monthly monetary benefits without proof. Your word alone is not enough; the SSA will need to see written proof of your condition and it must come from a medical doctor. The SSA will want to see that you have been under a doctor's care for your condition and that the condition is really severe enough to prevent you from working at your previous job. Your medical records are one of only two ways you have to prove that your illness exists. The other is something known as a consultative medical exam (CME).
The consultative medical exam
Not everyone that applies for SSA benefits is asked to undergo a special medical exam, only those that fail to show enough proof of their medical condition or who show records that are incomplete or too far back in the past. To make sure that you do have a covered condition, this exam is performed by a special doctor that works for the SSA.
What to know about the CME
You won't need to pay anything for the CME, but you also should not expect to receive any treatment or prescriptions. In some cases, diagnostic tests like blood tests, x-rays, and other lab or imaging tests are performed to give the CME doctor a better idea of your medical condition. This exam is not optional, and a refusal to undergo it will result in being turned down for benefits. This exam will focus on not only your medical condition, but also how it might affect your ability to work at your job or at any job. For example, if you work in a factory doing sewing machine operations and you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the doctor will pay close attention to your wrist, your range of movement, and your discomfort level.
The SSA may be using the CME to officially rule your application ineligible for benefits, but many deserving people are turned down regardless of the reason. You are entitled to an appeal and taking legal counsel with you is highly advised. Speak to a Social Security disability lawyer if you have been turned down for benefits.