If Your Disability Benefits Are Stopped Can You Get Them While You Appeal?

If an individual is receiving Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income disability, their disability claim will come up for periodic continuing disability reviews.

These reviews generally occur every three or seven years depending upon the likelihood that an individual's disabling condition is going to medically improve. A seven year continuing medical review "diary date" is given to disability beneficiaries who have very little chance of medical improvement and this is the case when a person's impairment is considered to be a permanent disabling condition by Social Security.

Other than periodic continuing medical reviews, work activity can sometimes trigger a CDR, or continuing disability review, for Social Security Disability beneficiaries. So what happens if an individual receives a notice that their disability benefits are being stopped because Social Security has determined that they are no longer medically disabled?

If an individual receives a notice that Social Security is stopping their disability benefits, they have the right to appeal that decision. Social Security Disability medical cessations have the same sixty day appeal period that is afforded to disability appications and appeals that are denied.

The appeal period begins with the date of the denial notice plus an extra five days for the time it take for the beneficiary to receive the notice. Therefore, the total timeframe for requesting an appeal for a cessation of disability benefits is 65 days.

As long as an individual appeals their disability cessation, there is a chance that their cessation could be overturned at a state disability agency hearing or at an administrative law judge disability hearing.

The dilemma most disability beneficiaries face is whether to request, during the time of the appeal, disability payment continuation or not. Individuals who are notified that their benefits will be ceased and choose to appeal the cessation can elect to have their benefits continued while they appeal. If an individual chooses to file for disability benefit continuation, they have ten days, plus the five days for mailing of the decisional notice, to request payment continuation.

Now this option seems good and it is good if an individual has no other money coming in to pay their financial obligations. In fact, most disability beneficiaries have no choice but to ask for benefit continuation.

So what is the dilemma? An individual should be mindful of the fact that if they lose their disability cessation appeal, they are financially liable for any disability benefits paid to them while they were going through the appeal process. This means that a very substantial overpayment to the Social Security Administration could be created while a disability beneficiary is waiting for the final decision as to their eligibility for disability benefits.

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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