What is a Consultative Medical Examination (CME)?
A consultative examination is a medical examination scheduled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or with examining physicians of its choosing.
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, it is not uncommon for you to receive a letter from Social Security requiring a consultative examination.
Often your first indication that you will be required to take a consultative exam is the notice letter you receive in the mail.
Social Security explains that it requires these examinations when it believes it does not have sufficient evidence for the disability examiner to determine the existence and/or the severity of a disability in order to approve or deny an application for Social Security Disability benefits. The examination is usually requested if your doctor has not responded to Social Security’s requests for medical records or if you have not provided records from the proper specialist.
The goal of this exam is for a third party doctor (not known to you and not an employee of Social Security) to render an objective opinion with respect to your medical condition.
Who orders a CME?
Medical exams conducted for Social Security and Disability objectives are not for the purpose of delivering medical treatment.
Instead, their purpose is to provide a recent snapshot of a claimant's conditions and various limitations.
Consultative exams can be physical, psychiatric, or psychological in nature.
They can also include ophthalmological exams, blood work, and the taking of x-rays.