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There are three sets of doctors who may give opinions in your Social Security Disability case. There are doctors who work for DDS (Disability Determination Services), doctors that the Social Security Administration sends you to (called consultative examiners) and your own treating doctors. The doctors that work for DDS will never meet you. They will give an opinion of your case based on the records alone.

The Social Security Administration can schedule a consultative examination at their expense and you will actually be seen for this visit. The consulting doctor will then write a narrative of their encounter with you and give the Social Security Administration their opinion about your limitations.

The last, and most important of the three, are your treating doctors. A treating physician opinion can help your case immensely if the opinion is consistent with the doctor’s notes and other medical records in your file. However, the Social Security Administration can give your doctor’s opinion little weight if it is inconsistent with his/her medical records.

Consultative examiners are paid to examine you by the Social Security Administration and the doctors at DDS are also paid by the Social Security Administration. Your doctor is paid by you; has examined you over a period of time; is familiar with your health problems and has the most knowledge of your medical issues.

You must attend the consultative examination if one is scheduled. Be on time and do your best, but know that regular medical care from your treating doctor is of the utmost importance. If you do not have insurance, apply for Medicaid. If you are denied for Medicaid, appeal this denial. Without medical treatment from your treating doctors, you will have an especially difficult time getting on disability benefits.