Disability questions
October 20, 2013 8:34 AM   Subscribe

I am applying for disability and just received mail that informed be that I would have to have a mental and physical exam. I understand that this is the usual procedure. What I am not happy about is that my "mental exam" is taking place in a mega church.

I am in a largish city. Is this normal? I am not religious at all and this is making me feel very uncomfortable. Why would the social security office use a church as a location to assess applicants for SSI or SSDI?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why would the social security office use a church as a location to assess applicants for SSI or SSDI?

I don't know - why would the local supervisor of elections use a church as a polling place? I've never had a SS consultative examination so I cannot speak to them specifically, but it is not uncommon at all for governments to use non-government buildings for various purposes such as this. It is common for non-profit organizations to do this because they can often earn a fee for making their facilities available. This is why most election polling places, for example, tend to be in churches, schools, or services clubs like Rotary/Lions.
posted by Tanizaki at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't worry about it. Just like lots of times churches are used for polling places, it's just a building with rooms that can be used for multipurpose.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:00 AM on October 20, 2013

(And if it will make you feel better, as a former member of a megachurch, you most likely will be meeting in an office and not a part of the building used for services.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:01 AM on October 20, 2013 [4 favorites]

a mega church probably also has spaces that qualify as "assembly" areas per code - a large area that can handle a certain quantity of people with sufficient fire exits. it's a weird physical space to be in while people are rummaging around your head space though! try not to let it get under your skin - i have no doubts at all that there will be anything religious related happening during your mental exam.
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 9:43 AM on October 20, 2013

More pertinently, if anything religious DOES happen during your mental exam, document it. It may well be worth the trouble in a hearing if you get turned down.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:55 AM on October 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

My guess is that Social Security contracts with counselors or psychiatrists who have practices that might be affiliated with the church.

I once saw a counselor whose practice was through "Lutheran Counseling Services", and shared a building with the rectory of the parish. The only mention of religion was the sign on the door; nobody ever mentioned my faith or the lack thereof.
posted by Kakkerlak at 10:45 AM on October 20, 2013

Usually, when the SSA or an insurance company schedules a medical or psychological evaluation, it is the doctor or the outside agency arranging for the examination, not SSA or the insurer, who decides where the examination is to take place.
posted by yclipse at 11:39 AM on October 20, 2013

The church may run a free or low cost medical clinic with doctors who volunteer. I know of a small church locally that offers this type of service to the community. They won't be doing your evaluation in the sanctuary.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:50 AM on October 20, 2013

Do you have a social security disability attorney? Do you have a social worker or caseworker you can talk to about these kinds of things? They might be good resources for you.

Good luck!
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:32 PM on October 20, 2013

Nthing that church meeting rooms can and are used for so many different purposes. I'm Not Christian and off the top of my head in the last year I've done all these things in a church: voted; sent my kid to science camp; attended a neighborhood council meeting; got a flu shot. None of these things were sponsored by the church, they were all straight-up "we have empty rooms and we rent them out" situations.

In my area one of the key issues is that churches have parking lots, and the combo of meeting rooms + a place for attendees to park is what makes the spaces so popular.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's hard enough to get disability without getting hung up on where your exam is taking place. As BlahLala says, these rooms are often rented out for all kinds of secular purposes. Don't get distracted.
posted by xyzzy at 1:30 AM on October 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

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