Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?
Getting approved for SSD or SSI disability benefits can take as little as a few months for those individual's who are fortunate enough to be approved at the initial claim or reconsideration appeal level. An approval can also take as long as two to three years for someone who is denied at both those levels and, therefore, is required to file a request for a hearing.
Following an approval, however, how long can a person receive disability benefits? The answer is indefinitely, depending on certain factors. The factors that affect an individual's entitlement to a monthly Social Security disability benefit or SSI benefit, are work activity, or indications of medical improvement.
Disability Reviews, Medical Improvement, and Continuing Eligibility to Receive Benefits
Periodically your disability claim will be reviewed to determine if your medical conditions have improved. If they have not improved and no other changes have occurred, you will receive a medical continuance (you will continue to receive disability monthly benefits).
Is it likely that the social security administation will determine that you have experienced medical improvement and, as a result, cease your benefits? No. In fact, only a very small percentage of claims are discontinued due to medical improvement. The vast majority of claims are continued, or re-approved, following each periodic review.
This is because medical improvement is actually hard to prove, essentially for the same reason that it can be difficult to be awarded disability benefits in the first place: doctors simply do not make a habit of including information about a patient's functional limitations or capabilities in the medical records that they transcribe.
Disability Reviews, Work Activity, and Continuing Eligibility to Receive Benefits
Work activity will be reviewed at the time of your scheduled medical disability review (these usually occur every three or seven years), or during any other time at which the Social Security Administration has questions about your work earnings.
How does SSA become aware of your earnings? Claimants are required to report any work activity that they engage in. However, in addition to work activity that you have reported to the Social Security Administration, a review of a claimant's work activity may be the result of arnings that have been reported to your social security record by the Internal Revenue Service
If you are never able to return to work due to your medical conditions or Social Security has never determined that your conditions have improved, you will receive your disability benefits until your full retirement age.
Once you are at full retirement age, your monthly disability benefit will automatically convert to a Social Security retirement benefit. Your benefits will become subject to retirement rules not disability rules, which may mean that you will have different earnings restrictions. Please contact your local Social Security office to obtain information about retirement benefits.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria