TN 2 (10-15)

DI 29501.010 Administrative Law Judge Requests Assistance to Obtain a Consultative Examination


20 CFR 404.911, 404.705 416–1411, and 416.916

If an administrative law judge (ALJ) concludes that he or she needs a consultative examination (CE), the ALJ sends the HA-4489-U2 (Request for DDS Assistance in Obtaining Consultative Examination(s)) directly to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) with pertinent background evidence attached.

If the ALJ did not attach any background evidence, follow local procedures to gain the background materials. The ALJ decides what background evidence we provide to the CE source. The DDS provides the other information for the source, described in DI 22510.015.

The background evidence contains any relevant evidence the ALJ identified as related to the type of examination(s) ordered along with the most recently completed disability report form SSA-3441-BK (Disability Report-Appeal).

The ALJ indicates in the Remarks section of the HA-4489-U2 if he or she needs an updated SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA)).

A. DDS actions when an ALJ requests a CE

The DDS takes the following actions when an ALJ requests assistance in obtaining a CE.

  • Arrange for the CE following normal DDS guidelines and the instructions in DI 22510.000, Development of Consultative Examinations (CE) – Table of Contents.

  • Include the relevant medical background evidence that the ALJ forwarded, if any.

  • If the ALJ requests that a certain medical specialty perform the CE, make every reasonable effort to comply with the special request. If you encounter or anticipate any difficulty in securing services by the requested medical specialty, you may propose an appropriate alternative source to the ALJ.

  • If a DDS medical or psychological consultant (MC/PC) believes the test or other diagnostic procedure is medically adverse, return the request to the ALJ with a cover letter explaining why the claimant should not have the specific test performed. If the ALJ does not agree, the Regional Chief ALJ's office will attempt to resolve the difference with the Regional Center for Disability.

  • Pay the prevailing fee for the CE in accordance with the local DDS established fee schedule. For information on establishing local fee schedules, see DI 39545.600.

See Details:

DI 81020.100 Electronic Assistance Requests

B. DDS notifications and evidence

The DDS takes the following actions when scheduling a CE for the ALJ:

  1. Notify the claimant and the appointed representative (if any) that the ALJ requested a CE.

  2. Inform the CE provider that the examination is for an SSA hearing.

  3. Include in the information sent to the CE provider:

    • the relevant medical background evidence forwarded by the ALJ,

    • any special forms provided by the ALJ for the CE provider’s medical opinion of the claimant’s functional capacity, and

    • a signed and dated SSA-827 (Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA)) provided by the hearing office (HO) or a blank SSA-827. If sending a blank SSA-827, ask that the CE provider have the claimant sign and date it at the time of the CE. Instruct the CE provider to retain the signed and dated SSA-827.

  4. Follow up for the report within 15 calendar days after the CE date.

For paper cases only:

  • Send a copy of the request for the CE to the ALJ at the same time you make the request to the CE provider.

  • Provide the ALJ a copy of the follow up letter or telephone report of contact.

C. Claimant does not attend or refuses to undergo a CE or test

If a claimant does not attend or refuses to undergo a CE or test requested by an ALJ, assess whether the claimant had good reasons for doing so. 

  • Contact the hearing office (HO) to determine if the claimant or appointed representative communicate