Social Security Disability Resource Center

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Can You Lose Your Social Security Disability Benefits When Your Case Is Reviewed?

All disability beneficiaries will face a review of their disability case at one time or another. Many individuals will have multiple disability case reviews during the course of their time receiving Social Security disability benefits. Generally, these case reviews result in no change in benefits for the disability beneficiary.

Disability claims that are approved for benefits are all "diaried" (i.e. scheduled) for a future continuing disability review, or CDR. Depending upon the likelihood of medical improvement, and sometimes the age of the individual, the disability claim will receive a diary date of one of the following: less than three years, three years, or seven years. Seven-year diary dates are given to disability cases that have very little likelihood of medical improvement.

In fact, a seven year medical diary is considered a permanent disability diary date. However, it may be safe to say that most cases will be reviewed on a three year schedule, and just a few claims will be scheduled for a yearly review (these, of course, would be cases in which medical improvement would be considered somewhat likely).

When a personís disability case comes up for its review date, Social Security will contact the disability beneficiary by mail or phone. Some Social Security claim representatives schedule all of their continuing disability review cases for in-person interviews, while others do their continuing disability reviews by phone, and some just mail out the continuing disability review paperwork for the disability beneficiary to complete and return by a designated date.

The method of completing the continuing disability review is usually determined by the CR, or Social Security claim representative (the person at the social security field office who has been assigned to handle your case: usually, assignments are made simply according to where your last name falls in the alphabet).

However, disability beneficiaries can ask for another method if they are unable to complete their disability review in the manner suggested by the Social Security claimís representative.

Once a Social Security claim representative has all the necessary paperwork completed, they forward the continuing disability review to a state Social Security disability-processing agency for a decision as to whether or not an individual has medically improved.

This is the very same agency that makes decisions on disability applications and it is known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services.

Medical improvement can cause an individualís disability benefits to be terminated. While it is always possible that medical evidence contained in an individualís treatment notes could indicate that the individual has medically improved to the point of no longer being disabled, it is unlikely.

Medical improvement can only be proven through objective medical evidence, or by an individualís return to substantial gainful employment, i.e. working and earning the SGA amount. SGA, or substantial gainful activity, is just an arbitrary monthly earnings amount that Social Security considers to be supporting.

Each year the SGA monthly earnings amount may be increased. For example, more than a decade ago, the SGA limit was $700, meaning that a person could not earn more than $700 if he or she wanted to maintain eligibility for disability benefits. Since then, the SGA limit has risen considerably.

If an individual is not working, or is working at a level that is not SGA, they will not lose their disability benefits at a continuing disability review as long as their medical records do not indicate that their condition has medically improved.

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

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  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

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    Related pages:

    Will my disability case be reviewed after I have been approved for disability benefits?
    How does the Social Security Disability Review work?
    The, CDR, or Continuing Disability Review, for SSD and SSI claims
    Advice for a Social Security Disability Continuing Review
    What will trigger a review of a social security disability claim?
    Are SSDI and SSI Benefits Normally Continued After A Continuing Disability Review?
    How Often Does Social Security Disability Review Cases?
    Can You Lose Your Social Security Disability Benefits When Your Case Is Reviewed?
    What Should I Expect at my Social Security Disability Review if I am working part-time?
    How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits?
    If you apply for disability in Alabama
    Will I qualify for disability Alabama
    Is there a time limit for how long you can collect Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    If Your Disability Benefits Are Stopped Can You Get Them While You Appeal?
    What is a Social Security Disability or SSI work CDR?

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
    Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria