We have previously discussed the possibility of Ohio applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income being sent for a Consultative Evaluation by the Social Security Administration. This generally happens when there is not enough evidence for the SSA to make a determination on the applicant’s eligibility for benefits. As we have touched on, the agency prefers to send the applicant to his or her normal doctor for these evaluations, though sometimes an independent source will be used. Due to the complexity of, and often lesser available objective tests for, determining mental illness, these types of cases may be more likely to use CEs.
So what will an applicant’s doctor do in the Consultative Examination? That is, what kind of information does the physician provide to the SSA? The administration’s website for medical professionals gives some idea of what doctors will do for people filing for disability based upon a mental illness. While some of the information provided will be pro forma, such as the identity and age of the patient, much of it will be evaluative in nature. Today, we’ll focus on what might be included in the doctor’s Mental Status Evaluation.
In this part of the examination, the physician will be reporting on his or her observations of the applicant’s outward mental state, as well as some of the possible inner thoughts of the individual. This evaluation may include things like how the patient dresses, the hygiene he or she displays, what his or her outward affect is and the attitude displayed toward the evaluation. The applicant’s ability to remember things, his or her willingness to make appropriate eye contact, his or her spatial orientation and the way he or she uses language may also be reported. The doctor will also attempt to evaluate things like the patient’s intelligence level, concentration and judgment and any suicidal or homicidal tendencies.
There is, of course, more to a CE than the above section, and we may cover such in subsequent posts. Such exams are thorough, and might be avoided by the production of sufficient evidence with the initial application. People who may qualify for SSDI or SSI based on a mental condition may wish to consider consulting an experienced Ohio legal professional.