A consultative examination (CE) is a physical or mental health examination or test purchased on behalf of a claimant at SSA’s expense and is requested by the agency to make a disability determination. The state Disability Determination Services (DDS), which are federally funded state agencies that support SSA in making disability determinations, manage the process of ordering and paying for CEs. The DDS obtains permission from the claimant to requisition medical evidence directly from the claimant’s treating source. The DDS can also order a CE from a CE provider, which can be the claimant’s treating source or another medical provider, if it is necessary to obtain additional information to make an informed disability determination.
The information included in CEs is one part of the evidence used to assess eligibility for benefits along with all of the other information collected from the claimant (e.g., medical evidence from other sources and earnings history)
More information about this topic can be found at the Social Security Website.