Testing for mental conditions is typically not as clear-cut as it is for physical conditions. Accordingly, a Houston resident may have a qualifying mental condition under Social Security guidelines, but be unable to prove it through medical tests. In these cases, where the Social Security Administration does not have sufficient information to make a determination about benefits, it may order a mental consultative examination.
A consultative exam is meant to supplement the medical evidence that the benefits applicant provides when seeking a mental disability claim. For example, if the claimant has not had a mental health exam in the past couple of months, the SSA may want a more recent medical evaluation of the person's mental condition. In other cases, the medical information the applicant submitted may simply not be conclusive enough, and the SSA wants more information.
The SSA pays for the mental consultative exam, and may send the person to their original doctor for the additional exam. Within 10 days of the consultative exam, the doctor will send a written report to the claimant's local disability office, which will then determine whether to grant benefits.
A consultative exam may sound like an unnerving process to go through, especially for someone with a mental condition. But it can be a necessary step for the applicant to get benefits.
People in the Houston area who need further information about a consultative exam, or any other issues related to Social Security Disability for mental conditions, can contact an experienced Social Security attorney.
Source: SSA.gov, "Consultative Examination Guidelines," Accessed on June 2, 2016