When a person files for Social Security disability benefits, the Social Security Administration generally asks for medical reports, which support the applicant’s claim of a disability. However, in certain cases, the SSA may ask for additional medical examinations before it approves a claim. The examinations are conducted by New Jersey’s Disability Determination Services and the agency pays for the tests as well as certain expenses that are associated with such tests.
When the SSA asks an applicant to undergo a special examination, it is the applicant’s responsibility to keep the appointment and cooperate with the doctors who are administering the tests. However, there may cases in which an applicant is unable to keep the appointment for a legitimate reason. In such cases, it is important for that applicant to make the state agency aware of the applicant’s inability to undergo the examination immediately. If the applicant fails to inform the state agency, the SSA will make a decision based in the information that has been provided to them and that could mean that the SSA will deny the claim due to lack of supporting evidence.
In a typical special examination, the doctor will conduct the tests as prescribed by the SSA and send the reports to the state’s Disability Determination Services department. The doctor does not have a role in the decision-making process. The agency will then review the results and make a decision regarding the applicant’s disability claim. In the event of a denial, as in other cases, the applicant has the right to appeal the decision. Details about how the appeal should be filed are mentioned in the claim denial letter.
While this entire process may look simple, the actual experience may be quite complex because the SSA is very strict when it comes to determining disability. It is for that reason that applicants need to be aware of the rules and regulations that govern those tests. Understandably, not many people are aware of the rules because they never had any experience with them in the past; however, their lack of knowledge may damage an otherwise valid claim. Therefore, it may make sense for the applicant to work with someone experienced with the SSA to seek as positive an outcome as possible.