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 — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How Long Do I Get To Keep My Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Social Security has no set length of time that you can keep your disability benefits. You may receive Social Security disability benefits for a lifetime provided your medical condition has not improved or you have not gone back to work earning above the substantial gainful activity monthly earnings limit. (current SGA monthly earnings amount).
Periodic reviews of your claim
All Social Security disability beneficiaries have periodic continuing disability reviews. These continuing disability reviews are to ascertain if you have had any medical improvement since you filed for disability benefits or since your last continuing disability review. If you have been unable to work and have no medical records that suggest your disabling condition has improved, you will continue to receive disability benefits.
If you have worked some but your earnings have not been over the SGA monthly earning amount, there is little chance that your disability benefits will be stopped. Social Security will initiate a continuing work review for all disability beneficiaries who have worked since their last decision, or are currently working at the time of their continuing disability review, as well as those who are not scheduled for continuing medical reviews.
Going back to work can trigger a review
This, of course, means that work activity can cause you to have a continuing disability review earlier than the normal periodic review date. To complete a work review, Social Security contacts all employers since your last disability decision for a monthly breakdown of your earnings. They allow nine trial work months (they do not have to be consecutive) in which your earnings can be any amount during a five-year period. If your earnings are over the SGA monthly amount in the tenth month, your monthly disability benefits will be suspended from that point on for any month that your earnings are over the SGA monthly earnings limit.
Performance of SGA in the tenth month also begins a thirty-six month extended period of eligibility in which your disability benefits can be reinstated for any month you are not working over the SGA monthly limit. However, if you are not earning over the SGA limit in the tenth month, your disability benefits will continue and your extended period of eligibility will begin if you perform SGA at any time in the future.
Once you are out of the extended period of eligibility or EPE, any month in which your earnings are over SGA will cause your disability benefits to be terminated.
Still, Social Security allows you to file for expedited reinstatement of disability benefits with provisional payments for six months if you file within five years of your disability benefits being terminated due to work activity--provided you have the same disabling conditions.
Most individuals keep their benefits following a review
The vast majority of disability beneficiaries are not able to return to work activity at SGA level, nor do they have medical evidence that would suggest medical improvement. Therefore, most disability beneficiaries keep their disability benefits for a lifetime. At full retirement age, your disability benefits will become full retirement benefits (there will be no change in your monthly monetary amount). This simply means you are treated like a retiree with regard to work activity.
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Topics and Questions
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