The Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (the “State agency”) is responsible for making the initial decision on Social Security Disability (“SSD”) claims in New York. The State agency sends letters to SSD applicants stating that he or she “must” be examined by a “Specialist” from “IMA Disability Services” (“IMA”). The letter is frequently followed by phone calls warning that the application will be denied if the claimant fails to appear for the appointment. These letters are misleading.
The use of the word “must” is misleading because most claimants do not need to be seen by a doctor from IMA. I represent a former cosmetology account manager whose SSD application was approved a few weeks after being told that she “must” attend an exam by an unnamed “specialist” IMA, which exam she refused to attend. Among other things, the SSA cannot require a claimant to attend a consultative examination (“CE”), such as the IMA exam, without first asking the treating physician to perform it.
There are countless other reasons why most demands for a claimant to attend a CE violate the rules. Not surprisingly, since IMA makes enormous amounts of money from performing thousands of CEs, they try to make claimants believe that they have no right to refuse to attend a CE. Therefore, a claimant should send written objections to the State agency specifying the factual and legal reasons why the CE would violate the rules and regulations.