Mental health Status Examination

Mental state examination for

Social Security may ask that a doctor evaluate your mental health or cognitive problems. These examinations are conducted by Psychiatrists or Psychologists. The doctor will conduct a Mental Status Exam (MSE) which assesses your appearance, behavior, speech, mood, affect, thought process, thought content, cognition and insight or judgment. The doctor may also administer other tests such a memory, personality or intelligence tests.


1. Go to the Evaluation: If you refuse to go to the examination, Social Security will likely deny your claim. Social Security only purchases evaluations in cases where they do not believe there is sufficient evidence to determine disability. If you do not go to the evaluation, Social Security will make a determination about your case, based on the evidence currently in the file, and that determination will likely be a denial.

2. Try your best: Put forth your best effort on all written and oral tests. If you don’t try your best, the doctor may find that you are “malingering” or faking it. This finding is very difficult to overcome in a Social Security Disability Case.

3. Dress Normally: Don’t dress up or try to look professional for the Consultative Examination. The doctor will be judging you based partly on how you look. Dress as you do on a typical day at home. If you typically wear sweatpants, then you should wear sweatpants to your evaluation. If you don’t bathe most days, then don’t bathe for the examination. This is not the time to “dress to impress.” You want to show the doctor your problems, not hide them.

4. Tell (and Show) the Doctor your Problems: While it may be embarrassing, it is important that you tell the doctor about your problems. Many people want to hide the fact that their house messy, they rarely bathe, and they are unable to keep friends. It is also okay to cry during the examination. If you are in pain, it is okay to ask to be able to change positions. No matter what your problems are, don’t hide them.

5. Don’t take Extra Medication: You may be tempted to take extra anxiety medication to get through the examination. Don’t do it. You want the doctor to see your problems. Just take your normal medications.

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