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Cumulative Exam Meaning When Applying For SSDI

Last updated: May 8, 2023

Filing for disability benefits can be a frustrating and challenging process. There are numerous things you need to check off your to-do list while compiling your application. One such thing would be going through a cumulative medical exam. 

The main reason the government put social security benefits in place is to aid those of us who cannot make a living due to long-term health problems. If you’re thinking of applying for SSDI benefits, you must understand the cumulative exam meaning. Keep reading to learn more about when you may need to go through this exam and what to expect.

What Is a Cumulative Medical Exam?

When you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines your eligibility. They may conduct a cumulative medical exam to assist them in determining your claim. This is a physical or psychological assessment that will be used to decide whether or not you are unable to work due to your medical condition.

When Are You Asked To Take A Cumulative Medical Exam?

The SSA's decision to schedule a cumulative medical exam is based on your condition and the information you submit with your application. The following are some instances in which this examination may be required:

-Additional medical information that is not contained in your medical records is required
There are gaps in your medical treatment — perhaps you have been without medical care for an extended period

-The SSA cannot acquire your medical records from your doctor in case your physician dies or refuses to provide them for reasons beyond your control

-Your medical records include inconsistencies

-The SSA requires specialist medical evidence in order to adjudicate your claim
In the future, your medical condition may deteriorate, impairing your capacity to work

What To Expect During Your Cumulative Exam?

Your examination is not intended to diagnose you. It is used to evaluate the severity of your ailment.

The scope of your cumulative medical examination will be determined by your condition and the SSA's concerns about its impact on your ability to work.

However, there are precise rules about the length of your exam. The following requirements must be met:

-A comprehensive physical examination should last at least 30 minutes

-At the very least, a musculoskeletal or neurological evaluation should take at least 20 minutes

-A psychological evaluation should last no less than 60 minutes, whereas a psychiatric exam should last no less than 40 minutes

-Other examinations must last at least 30 minutes

-Once the examination is complete, the physician will send a written report to the SSA


Many people can’t grasp the cumulative exam’s meaning. It is one of the requirements you must meet in order for the SSA to assess your case thoroughly before reaching a verdict. 

Want to know what to expect in a Social Security Disability Mental Exam? Check out one of our articles to learn more.

If you’re looking for more resources while going through the process of applying for disability, visit Disability Help. There, you can find answers to important questions like what happens when you don’t meet the work credit requirement?

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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