Can You Lose Your Social Security Disability Benefits after You get Them?

Getting approved for disability (Social Security Disability or SSI disability) is a long and difficult experience for most applicants. The application level, the reconsideration appeal level, and the hearing level can, timewise, amount to three years or more (though this is not always the case). During that time, many applicants suffer extreme financial hardship.

In addition to that, many, or most, applicants go without critical access to needed medical care that, in addition to exacerbating their condition, makes it more difficult to win disability benefits (because without access to doctors, it is very difficult to present the social security administration with current medical documentation that is needed to substantiate a claim).

If it were very easy for a person to easily lose their disability benefits after having put so much time and effort (and anxiety and financial loss as well) into getting them in the first place, then the federal disability system would be even worse than it currently is.

Fortunately, however, most applicants for SSD or SSI disability benefits who get approved will retain their benefits after a continuing disability review, or CDR, has been conducted.

A CDR is simply a review that is done every few years (usually every three years or more, but in some cases as long as every seven years, and as little as one year from the date of the initial approval) to ascertain whether or not a person is still medically disabled and, thus, entitled to receive disability benefits.

Most reviews that are done end with this result: the individual has their benefits continued, meaning they are found to be still disabled.

This happens because it is very difficult for the social security administration to prove that medical improvement has taken place. So, in other words, if you have a review of your case, there is typically little to worry about.

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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