What Happens Next After a Mental Exam for SSI Benefits?

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Benefits

During the process of applying or re-applying for Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits as part of Social Security Disability, you may be asked to take a mental exam. Now, you are probably eager to find out what happens after the SSI mental exam and whether you will be approved to receive disability benefits.

If the SSA required you or a loved one to take a mental exam, consider the following information you need to know in accordance with the process that transpires after your mental exam.

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What To Expect From The CE Doctor

First, the Consultative Exam (CE) doctor who performs the examination will collect all the information from your visit and write a report. The doctor will not treat you or help you with your condition, nor will he or she prescribe any treatment or medication for you afterward.
CE doctors are not Social Security Administration (SSA) employees and they do not have authority over your case. Also, they will not take part in deciding whether you are disabled. Most likely, they will never know what happens after they send out their report.

The report will be based on a complete medical examination that will contain:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Visit findings
  • Other findings related to your specific case

The report will be thorough so the reviewer can establish the severity of the impairment, the applicant’s ability to complete basic work-related tasks, and other elements.

The Review Stage After an SSI Exam

Next, the CE doctor will send the report to the state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency within 10 business days of the examination. The DDS is different from the local Social Security field office and they primarily evaluate the medical portions of the disability claim.

The medical report will contain an opinion about key elements regarding your cognitive capabilities:

  • Your ability to remember, understand, and follow instructions
  • Your ability to maintain social interaction consistently with supervisors and co-workers
  • Your ability to handle pressure and the stresses of everyday work

The state agency will analyze the doctor’s report and review all the previous information obtained in your case.
If any additional testing or evaluation is necessary, the Social Security Administration will inform you and order more testing. For example, if your exam results are uncertain, questionable, or fraudulent, another exam may need to be scheduled.

Additionally, your case may be intercepted by the Disability Quality Branch (DQB), which randomly selects disability applications for review to ensure disability claims are handled consistently. This would affect the time it takes for you to know whether you will be eligible to receive disability benefits.

Receiving a Disability Determination

After all the reviews are completed, the SSA will then come to a final decision and determine if you are eligible to receive disability benefits. Subsequently, the SSA will send you a letter to notify you of the decision the state agency made on your case.

On average, it can take between 2 to 4 weeks after your SSI mental exam to receive a letter from the SSA. However, it is difficult to determine exactly how long it will take for you to receive the case disability decision after your mental exam because several variables will affect each case.

Key factors that affect the timeline include:

  • How fast the CE doctor sends the report
  • The examiner’s caseload
  • If any additional tests were requested from you after the first mental exam

Find Professional Assistance!

We recommend having a professional look at your claim and advise you on your case. At Disability Apply, we can help make this part of the process easier to navigate and ultimately obtain the results you deserve.

Contact us today to work with someone who will advocate on your behalf and answer all of your questions regarding what happens after an SSI mental exam. Our team will dedicate themselves to help you during this confusing and exhausting stage and give you the best results.

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