Preparing for the Social Security Disability Mental Exam

Learn what to expect and how to prepare for the mental consultative examination.

By , Contributing Author
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The best thing you can do to prepare for a mental consultative examination (CE) for the Social Security Administration (SSA) is to learn what to expect.

What tests will be done at the examination?

The type of tests or evaluations that will be done during the CE depends on each individual case. The reviewer at Disability Determination Services (DDS) will request tests and evaluations that they need in order to get a more complete picture of your disability and make a decision regarding disability benefits.

What should I bring with me to the appointment?

With a mental examination, a majority of the appointment will be spent in discussion regarding your past and present situation. However, there are a few things that you will need to bring with you for the physician, including:

  • your Social Security claim number, and
  • an ID (such as a license or passport).

What questions will they ask me at the examination?

The goal of the examination is to fill in holes in your medical records. The physician is going to want to know the following information:

  • Medical history. They will want to know, from you, what your impairments are and how they affect your everyday life and ability to work.
  • Social history. They will want to know about your relationship with your family and friends and your ability to interact with others in the community. Also, they will want to know of social activities you are currently involved in.
  • Educational background. This will include any difficulties you had in school.
  • Work background. This will include attempts to return to work and the results of those attempts.

This is information that you know, but it would be helpful to think about these areas prior to your CE in order to insure you remember everything, and to speed along the examination.

It is important to remember that the purpose of these mental examinations is to gather more information about you so that the reviewer is able to make a more accurate assessment of your disability. You should answer all questions accurately and honestly.

What should I write down before the mental exam?

It is important that you provide the physician with an accurate account of your past and present medical and social history. It would be beneficial to write down certain information and bring it with you to insure that you do not accidentally forget something, including:

  • current medications you take
  • previous hospitalizations and dates of those stays
  • treatments received and the results of those treatments
  • previous diagnoses
  • supported living facilities in which you have lived and the dates that you lived there, and
  • any criminal history.
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