Crowe & Shanahan
Serving Clients Throughout Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois
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SSD claims denied based on doctor's perfunctory exams

Dealing with a disability that leaves you unable to work is bad enough. Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is necessary, as it may be your only viable source of income, if you succeed in your application. But imagine your frustration if your claim was denied due to a cursory and incomplete examination from a doctor. Even worse, what if you found out that he had been removed from the panel of doctors who provide SSA with medical evaluations of SSD applicants, but his defective reports were still used to deny claims?

This scenario has led to a class-action lawsuit in California that will require SSA to a reevaluation of 6,500 claims made between 2007 and 2010 that may have been denied due to examinations performed by the now discredited doctor. Reports suggest that some claimants may have been denied SSD benefits as long ago as 2001, but it was not until 2013 that he was finally removed from the panel of doctors used for "consultative examinations."

These exams may be necessary where the patient has disability claims, but they have insufficient documentation of medical treatment or procedures that would clearly demonstrate their impairments.

If you receive an examination from a doctor like this one, you could be rejected in spite of a valid claim. For instance, according to one patient, this doctor's so-called "exam" only lasted seven minutes and 46 seconds. Clearly, such a perfunctory exam would be inadequate in virtually every case, no matter what the patient's claims were.

if you are required to undergo a "consultative examination," while your doctor is examining you, you should be carefully noting the doctor's behavior. A doctor who is uninterested in performing an exam is likely to produce a poor report and it could result in your denial of benefits.

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