Social Security Consultative Examinations of cognitive and mental health disabilities (SSI and SSDI) for adults in the San Francisco Bay Area
If you or a loved one suffers from a cognitive disability or mental illness that prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI benefits are paid to people who have worked long enough and recently enough under the Social Security program, and SSI disability benefits are paid to adults and children with limited income and resources. When filing for disability, the most important documents you can provide the Social Security Administration are medical records from your treating psychologist, psychiatrist, physician, and/or therapist. However, even if you provide medical records, Social Security will likely ask you to get a Consultative Examination to get current information about your mental status. Consultative Examinations for mental health and cognitive functioning are conducted by independent, licensed psychologists that are contracted by Social Security. These psychologists will interview you and conduct a mental status examination, and will most likely administer psychological tests.
Why seek an independent Consultative Examination from Dr. Chaffee?
Dr. Paula Chaffee has nine years experience conducting independent Consultative Examinations for thousands of Social Security claimants. Over the most recent six years, Dr. Chaffee has worked as the sole contracting psychologist with the Santa Clara County Department of Social Services, Social Security Advocacy Unit, to conduct Consultative Examinations for mental health and cognitive disability. Prior to that, Dr. Chaffee spent three years conducting contracted mental health Consultative Examinations for a Social Security contracting agency in the South Bay Area. While working for the Social Security contracting agency, Dr. Chaffee recognized that contracted Consultative Examinations are limited in scope and based only on psychological tests requested by Social Security analysts, who are not mental health professionals and do not have formal training or licensed experience in the selection, administration, scoring, or interpretation of psychological tests. A limited scope Consultative Exam with pre-authorized tests of the analyst's choosing frequently results in an abbreviated report that does not thoroughly address each claimant's disability allegations. Based on her experience with a Social Security contracting agency, Dr. Chaffee began to develop customized batteries of tests for each claimant in order to thoroughly investigate and document each claimant's disability, and to provide the most comprehensive Consultative Examination reports to attorneys and the court. As a licensed psychologist and clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Chaffee selects batteries of psychological and neuropsychological tests suited for each claimant's allegations, and spends the time necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of the claimant's background including developmental, academic, occupational, mental health, and family history. After reviewing medical and mental health records and conducting a formal Consultative Examination, Dr. Chaffee provides feedback about test results, and if desired, will complete an extensive and comprehensive written report, including all the Social Security requirements such as a Medical Source Statement. Based on the quality and thoroughness of her reports, leading Social Security attorneys in the Bay Area often refer Social Security claimants to Dr. Paula Chaffee for cognitive and mental health Consultative Examinations.
Does a Consultative Examination guarantee that I will be awarded disability benefits?
No. Consultative Examination doctors do not make decisions about a claimant's Social Security disability award. A Consultative Examination is an idependent evaluation of your current mental health or cognitive disability allegations, designed to comply with Social Security law and provide required information to help Social Security analysts, mental health claims reviewers, and federal Administrative Law Judges to make more accurate decisions about your disability claim.