Will Social Security Disability do medical check ups on me after I am approved?

This question was recently asked: "After I finally get my disability approved, will they do medical check ups on me, and how often?".

And the answer is---yes they will. Meaning that following an approval for Social Security Disability or SSI, a claimant can expect a long future of CDRs. What is a CDR? The term stands for continuing disability review, essentially a review of a claimant's case to determine if they are still eligible to receive disability benefits.

A CDR, in principle, is not any different from a disability application or request for reconsideration in this sense: a disability examiner at the state agency responsible for making decisions on disability claims for the social security administration (in most states, this agency will bear the title of DDS, or disability determination services) will A) review a claimant's medical history and B) determine whether or not a state of disability still exists, according to the disability criteria used by SSA.

The difference between reviewing a claim that is based on a pending (i.e. undecided) disability application and a claim that was approved in the past, however, is that on a continuing disability review the records must show that medical improvement has taken place before a claimant's benefits can be ceased. If no medical improvement can be found, the claimant's benefits will continue.

Medical improvement is typically very difficult to prove, especially if the claimant who was approved years earlier has had little reason to have much continued medical followup (a sparcity of treatment after being put on disability can and does happen since some doctors will release their patients after maximum medical improvement has been reached, i.e. they determine that there is little more that they can do to help their patient).

So, in other words, if you get approved for disability, your case will be reviewed periodically. This review does not necessarily mean that you will be sent to a physician for a medical check up. However, in some instances you may be sent to an examination (this is called a consultative medical examination) if the disability examiner concludes this is necessary.

How often are disability cases that were approved at one point later reviewed? It depends on what social security perceived to be the nature and severity of the claimant's overall mental or physical condition. Some cases will be reviewed only once every seven years, while other cases may be reviewed after one or three years following an approval.

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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