How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How does the Social Security Disability Review work?

Social Security periodically reviews all disability recipients to determine if they are still eligible to receive disability as defined by the rules and regulations of the Social Security administration. Two things affect disability eligibility and that is medical improvement and work activity.

How does Social Security know when disability claims need to be looked at again, and a disability review needs to be conducted? Social Security has a system of medical diary dates that it uses to review an individual's eligibility to continue receiving disability benefits. These reviews are known as Social Security Disability reviews or continuing medical reviews (CDR for short). Since I mentioned Social Security’s medical diary date system, I will explain what is meant by a medical diary date.

Social Security generally establishes review dates (for periodic medical reviews of someone's case) in the following categories:

1. Improvement likely

2. Improvement possible

3. No improvement possible

An Improvement likely diary indicates that Social Security will review your case at some point prior to three years. A medical Improvement possible diary indicates that Social Security will review your claim every three years or so. And a No improvement possible diary signifies that Social Security will review your claim every seven years or more.

Is your case reviewed only according to these time frames? No, a review can occur if it is "triggered". What might trigger a Social Security Disability review other than an established diary date? Work activity often triggers work-continuing reviews that may lead to a medical review to establish medical improvement.

Social Security has access to the earnings that are being reported yearly to the Internal Revenue Service from employers and tax returns. If a work alert is established for your disability case, SSA will notify you that your disability eligibility is being reviewed. Of course, if you report that you have returned to work or another individual reports that you are working, your work activity may be reviewed to determine if it is substantial gainful activity (if you are working at more than the substantial gainful activity level, this means you are earning more than the limit that is allowed for you to continue receiving disability benefits).

What does the performance of substantial gainful activity indicate to Social Security? Potentially the performance of substantial gainful activity indicates medical improvement. However, the mere performance of substantial gainful activity does not always indicate that medical improvement has taken place. But it can possibly lead to a suspension of disability eligibility or even termination of one's disability benefits.

If there is no work activity being performed by you and your medical diary date is due (meaning that your case has come up for review), Social Security will still periodically review your disability from a medical standpoint.

How does Social Security conduct a Social Security Disability review (continuing medical review)? When it is time for your medical review, Social Security will contact you by mail to schedule an office or telephone appointment, or perhaps they will just send the forms you need to fill out and return (Of course, if you have difficulty filling out the forms you should contact the claims representative who sent your forms to you and they can help you fill them out, either by phone or in person.).

Once Social Security has obtained a medical update, they will develop a complete twelve-month medical history from the information that you have provided and determine if there has been any medical improvement. Generally, there is no need to worry about a medical continuing review if you have not experienced an improvement in your medical condition or have not returned to work at a level that Social Security considers to be substantial gainful activity.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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?
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?
If you apply for disability in in Louisiana
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Louisiana

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.