The Continuing Disability Review for SSD and SSI claims

What is a Social Security Administration continuing disability review, or CDR? Periodically, the Social Security Administration reviews both Social Security Disability and SSI disability claims, in an effort to determine if there has been medical improvement. Why is this done? Because claimants whose records later show that they have medically improved may potentially have their benefits stopped.

The periodic occurrence of a continuing disability review is based upon the likelihood of medical improvement. For instance, if you have an medical and/or mental impairment in which improvement may be considered "possible", then your continuing disability review will happen every three years or less. If you are an older individual or have a medical or mental condition that is considered to be permanent, your continuing disability review may occur every seven years or so.

What happens when your claim is selected for a continuing disability review? Your local Social Security office will contact you with a letter informing you that it is time for your CDR. Generally, Social Security will also send out the disability forms and medical releases for you to fill out and return, along with a continuing disability review interview appointment. Your continuing disability review may be completed by telephone or by an office appointment. In some cases, it may be done through the mail.

So, what is involved in a continuing disability review? Basically a continuing disability review is just an update of your medical treatment and work activity. If your medical and/or mental condition has not improved and you are still have not been able to return to work, your will likely have your disability benefits continued. In fact, the great majority of individuals who receive disability benefits have their benefits continued after a review has been conducted.

Conversely, if your medical records indicate that your medical and/or mental conditions have improved, or you have returned to work at a level considered to be substantial and gainful by Social Security, your disability benefits may be ceased.

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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