After you apply for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits in New York, you will be sent a letter from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (“OTDA”), or will receive a call from IMA Disability Services, telling you that you “must” be examined by an IMA doctor. Sometimes, IMA will even say that your application will be denied if you do not go to the exam. For some reason, the IMA appointments are automatically scheduled without any investigation as to whether or not they are really needed.
I represent a 50 year old nurse whose SSD application was approved today, even though she had previously received a letter from OTDA telling her that it was “necessary” for IMA to examine her, and that she “must” attend the appointment. Why are claimants told to to go the IMA when the rules and regulations clearly state that the treating physicians are the preferred sources for exams? Why are claimants told they have to go to IMA exams in virtually every case when it is not true? The answer may have nothing to do with a claimant’s medical evidence.
The OTDA pays IMA a great deal of money for examining claimants, which money comes from our taxes. The fact that the OTDA automatically pays for IMA exams that are not necessary means that tax revenues are being wasted. Even if an exam were actually necessary, the why doesn’t the OTDA ask the claimants’ doctors to do the exam, especially since many would do so without requiring payment from the OTDA; that is, without cost to the taxpayer? How much do taxpayers pay IMA annually for unnecessary exams?