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Consultative Examinations

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

616. Consultative Examinations

616.1 When do you need a consultative examination?

We may require a consultative examination in situations including, but not limited to, the following:

  1. To gather more evidence because the evidence obtained is not enough to make a disability determination;

  2. To obtain more detailed medical findings about the your impairment(s);

  3. To obtain technical or specialized medical information;

  4. To resolve conflicts or differences in medical findings in the evidence already in file; or

  5. To resolve the issue of your ability to do substantial gainful activity.

Consultative examinations are at our expense.

616.2 Who administers the consultative examination?

Your treating source will be the preferred source to perform the consultative examination. However, we may use a medical source other than your treating source in certain situations. In some situations, we pay travel expenses relating to a medical examination required in connection with a disability determination.

616.3 What happens if you refuse a consultative examination?

If you refuse a consultative examination without good cause, we make a decision based only on the evidence in your file.

Last Revised: Jan. 30, 2006




Not affiliated with the US Social Security Administration