The independent medical examination (IME) is a critical component of a long-term disability claim, especially a mental illness disability claim. Understanding the purpose, process and importance of IMEs, along with having proper preparation and legal guidance, can increase your chances of obtaining the disability benefits you deserve. Here’s what you need to know.
What is an independent medical examination (IME)?
An IME is a medical evaluation conducted by a third-party healthcare professional with no prior involvement in your treatment. The purpose of an IME is to provide an unbiased assessment of your medical condition, your ability to work and whether you’re eligible for long-term disability benefits.
Disability benefits and IMEs
Independent medical examinations are frequently required for long-term disability claims, particularly when there are disputes about the claimant's medical condition or their eligibility for benefits. Insurance companies often use IMEs to verify the legitimacy of long-term disability claims, especially in mental illness disability benefits. If your examination results contradict your claim, it may be used by the insurance company to deny benefits.
It’s critical to know that the healthcare professional conducting the IME is typically hired by the insurance company. They’ll likely have a record of siding with insurance companies rather than claimants.
What to expect during an IME
During an IME, you can expect to undergo a thorough medical examination, which may include a review of your medical history, a physical examination and, potentially, psychological assessments for mental illness disability claims.
The healthcare professional will assess your condition and may ask you questions about your symptoms, limitations and treatment history.
How to prepare for an IME
Preparing for an IME is crucial to ensure the examination accurately reflects your condition. Here are some tips:
Gather documentation. Bring relevant medical records, test results and treatment documentation to the IME. This can help support your claim and provide a comprehensive view of your medical history.
Be honest. Be open and truthful about your symptoms and limitations. Concealing information or exaggerating can negatively impact your credibility.
Prepare mentally. Understand that the purpose of the IME is to provide an objective evaluation. It's not a confrontational process, so remain calm and cooperative.
Consult with a lawyer. Consider consulting with a disability benefits lawyer who can guide you through the IME process, help you understand your rights and ensure you're well-prepared.
Alberta and Saskatchewan disability benefits lawyer services
If you're facing an IME as part of your disability for mental illness claim in Alberta or Saskatchewan, a disability lawyer at Ludwar Law Firm can help. We have 25 years of experience helping clients in Alberta and Saskatchewan with their long-term disability claims. Contact us today to book a free consultation.