What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can You Lose Your Social Security Disability Benefits When Your Case Is Reviewed?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
All disability beneficiaries will face a review of their disability case at one time or another. Many individuals will have multiple disability case reviews during the course of their time receiving Social Security disability benefits. Generally, these case reviews result in no change in benefits for the disability beneficiary.
Disability claims that are approved for benefits are all "diaried" (i.e. scheduled) for a future continuing disability review, or CDR. Depending upon the likelihood of medical improvement, and sometimes the age of the individual, the disability claim will receive a diary date of one of the following: less than three years, three years, or seven years. Seven-year diary dates are given to disability cases that have very little likelihood of medical improvement.
In fact, a seven year medical diary is considered a permanent disability diary date. However, it may be safe to say that most cases will be reviewed on a three year schedule, and just a few claims will be scheduled for a yearly review (these, of course, would be cases in which medical improvement would be considered somewhat likely).
When a personís disability case comes up for its review date, Social Security will contact the disability beneficiary by mail or phone. Some Social Security claim representatives schedule all of their continuing disability review cases for in-person interviews, while others do their continuing disability reviews by phone, and some just mail out the continuing disability review paperwork for the disability beneficiary to complete and return by a designated date.
The method of completing the continuing disability review is usually determined by the CR, or Social Security claim representative (the person at the social security field office who has been assigned to handle your case: usually, assignments are made simply according to where your last name falls in the alphabet). However, disability beneficiaries can ask for another method if they are unable to complete their disability review in the manner suggested by the Social Security claimís representative.
Once a Social Security claim representative has all the necessary paperwork completed, they forward the continuing disability review to a state Social Security disability-processing agency for a decision as to whether or not an individual has medically improved. This is the very same agency that makes decisions on disability applications and it is known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services.
Medical improvement can cause an individualís disability benefits to be terminated. While it is always possible that medical evidence contained in an individualís treatment notes could indicate that the individual has medically improved to the point of no longer being disabled, it is unlikely.
Medical improvement can only be proven through objective medical evidence, or by an individualís return to substantial gainful employment, i.e. working and earning the SGA amount. SGA, or substantial gainful activity, is just an arbitrary monthly earnings amount that Social Security considers to be supporting.
Each year the SGA monthly earnings amount may be increased. For example, more than a decade ago, the SGA limit was $700, meaning that a person could not earn more than $700 if he or she wanted to maintain eligibility for disability benefits. By 2012, the SGA limit had risen to $1010 per month.
If an individual is not working, or is working at a level that is not SGA, they will not lose their disability benefits at a continuing disability review as long as their medical records do not indicate that their condition has medically improved.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials