Can your benefits be taken away if Your Case Gets Reviewed?

Can your benefits be taken away if Your Case Gets Reviewed?

All disability beneficiaries have to go through the Social Security continuing disability review process at one time or another. All disability claims receive a medical review diary when they are approved. When we say "diary", of course, we mean a future date for the case being reviewed in order to determine if the individual is "still disabled".

Some disability beneficiaries receive medical review diaries of less than three years, but most are three or seven years. Social Security reserves seven year diaries for disability beneficiaries with conditions that have little or no chance for medical improvement.

There is no denying that there is a chance that an individual might lose their disability benefits during a continuing disability case review. Basically, continuing disability reviews (CDRs) were put in place so that individuals whose medical condition had improved could be moved off the Social Security Disability rolls.

Medical improvement must be shown by documented medical evidence unless an individual has returned to substantial gainful work activity. If an individual's medical records do not indicate medical improvement or their treating physician has not indicated that their patient is, in their opinion, able to return to work, there is little chance that they will lose their disability benefits.

Other than documentation of medical improvement through medical sources, work activity may be an indicator of medical improvement. All disability beneficiaries should remember Social Security Disability entitlement is based upon the fact that an individual is unable to perform substantial work activity because of their medical or mental impairment. Therefore, if an individual is working full time with no special considerations or subsidies (allowances from an employer that allow an individual to work), they may lose their disability benefits if Social Security determines that there has been medical improvement.

Statistically, most disability beneficiaries will continue receiving their disability benefits after their disability cases have been reviewed. The vast majority of individuals who receive disability do not have any medical records that indicate that they have medically improved. In fact, most have medical records indicating that their condition or conditions remain the same or have gotten worse.

Additionally, even though many disability beneficiaries attempt to work, some are not able to work consistently or at a substantial work activity level.

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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