Can my own doctor perform my examination?
Generally, Social Security regulations state that a consultative exam by your treating doctor is preferred. Therefore, if your doctor has the necessary skills and credentials to perform the examination, he or she may be able to do so if he or she agrees. So, for example, if you have congestive heart failure and your treating doctor is a cardiologist, he may be able to perform the exam.
How does the SSA select the doctor to perform my consultative examination?
Either the ALJ or your disability examiner will arrange for you to be examined by a practitioner who has the necessary skills and credentials to conduct the examination. The SSA will seek out independent doctors and psychologists who are in private practice and ask them to conduct the exams and provide reports. SSA usually tries to find a doctor who is located close to your home but that is not always possible. You may need to travel a distance for your consultative exam. If you have concerns about the distance, you should discuss it with your disability attorney.
How can I get my own doctor to perform my exam?
As previously stated, SSA generally prefers for your own treating doctor to perform the exam so if he or she has the appropriate credentials, it should not be a problem. Make sure that your disability attorney lets SSA know that you want your doctor to perform the exam. Your doctor will, of course, also need to agree to do the exam. You should not be surprised if your doctor declines to perform the exam. SSA pays a very small fee for the exam and, also, your doctor may not want to risk you blaming him if you are eventually denied benefits. Additionally, some doctors prefer not to perform the exam because of concerns regarding doctor-patient confidentiality.
Part 4: What If My Consultative Examination Goes Badly? (coming soon)