Social Security Disability Re-evaluations

Many people who win Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI, a.k.a. supplemental security income benefits do not realize that their claims will be subject to periodic review, generally every 3 to 7 years.

On one hand, this makes perfect sense, as just about any medical condition might improve, particularly in light of continuing advances in medical treatment, new medications on the market, etc.

On the other hand, given the hoops people jump through to prove they are eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI, this might seem unfair. After all, in order to collect benefits a claimant must be diagnosed with a severe, ongoing medical condition (or combination of conditions) that is unlikely to improve over a period of 12 months or more and that prevents him from earning a living.

However, when a disability claim is approved, a date is automatically set for periodic review. When that review actually occurs depends on two factors.

The first is the diary date of the claim, or the date that the claim is set for review (usually 3 to 7 years, although it may be even sooner depending upon the medical condition that was the basis of the claim).

The second is the existing backlog within the local social security office when the diary date arrives. If there are a lot of cases waiting to be reviewed, it could take a while for a claims representative (CR) at the social security field office to send the case over to DDS (disability determination services) for review.

In fact, some continuing disability reviews (CDRs) are years behind schedule. But don't count on it. When too many CDRs are behind schedule, Social Security tends to make them a higher priority, in which case they move to the top of a CRs to-do list and are expedited.

Re-evaluations are a part of collecting social security, but the frequency at which they occur is not set in stone, and the only thing claimants can be sure of is that, at some point in the future, they will be called upon to update the social security administration about the current state of their medical condition.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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