Is there ever a review to see if you are still disabled (If so when does it happen?)

Disability cases that have been approved by the social security administration periodically come up for review. The review is called a continuing disability review, or CDR for short.

Why are reviews of approved disability claims conducted? Quite obviously, so it can be determined whether or not an individual still meets the qualifications for receiving disability benefits. Fortunately, most claims that are reviewed during a CDR evaluation are continued; that is, the individual is determined to be still disabled.

The continuation of disability benefits, in fact, occurs in the great majority of cases. The reason? Because to take a disabled person off benefits (either Social Security Disability or SSI), the social security administration must be able to demonstrate that "medical improvement" has taken place.

Medical improvement is fairly difficult to establish for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that most individuals who are approved for disability have significant and longstanding problems that are not likely to improve to the point that they can engage in competitive employment again.

However, another reason that medical improvement is difficult to show is that doctor's treatment notes seldom refer to functional capabilities. The lack of notation regarding a person's functional capability tends to hurt individuals who are trying to get disability benefits established. But, on the flip side, it also makes it harder for social security to stop a person's benefits.

How often are disability claims reviewed? Officially, continuing disability reviews occur every one, three, or seven years. However, due to backlogs in local social security offices, reviews are often done much later than they scheduled for. So, it would not be unlikely for a three year "diary date" to become five or six years.

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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