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 often will social security review my disability claim in California?
Trying to get approved for Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits in California can be daunting, due to these aspects (this is by no means a complete list):
1. How long the process takes (which can cause considerable financial repercussions),
2. The poor job the social security administration does with regard to explaining "how things work",
3. The fact that while your case is being processed, your claim will seem to be in limbo (SSA does not provide status updates, just decisional notices).
In fact, the process can be so draining and exhaustive that many claimants, after they've finally won their benefits, will simply want to get the experience behind them and give little thought to how their later actions might affect their benefit eligibility. This, of course, can pose risks. One of those risks has to do with work and how work may affect a recipient's eligibility to receive benefits (On the day I wrote this, I learned of an individual who has a $51,000 overpayment which is owed to SSA as a result of unreported earnings).
However, another risk in this area (in the opinion of some disability representatives) has to do with continuing disability reviews, or CDRs.
What is a CDR? Well, after a Social Security Disability or SSI disability claimant is approved and put on benefit receipt, their case is also set for review. Depending on the severity of their condition(s) and the evidence that was available at the time their claim was decided, their claim will typically be reviewed every one, three, or seven years.
To illustrate the differences, a claimant whose case is approved but is "somewhat on the line" may be given a one-year diary date for a review of their disability claim, whereas a person whose condition is such that medical improvement is not expected may be given a seven-year diary date for a review of their disability claim.
When a continuing disability review is conducted, a disability examiner (disability examiners make decisions on disability claims for the social security administration) essentially looks to see whether or not medical improvement has taken place. If the individual's condition has improved, they face the prospect of having their SSD or SSI diability benefits discontinued. If their condition has worsened, or simply stayed the same, their benefits will be continued. The keystone variable, of course, is medical improvement.
The thing is, though, a certain percentage of claimants will stop going to the doctor after they have been awarded benefits, meaning that, by the time their claim is reviewed, there is no preferred means of determining whether or not medical improvement has taken place ("preferred means" equates with records obtained from an individual's treating physician). In other words, how can you gauge an individual's medical eligibility to receive benefits if medical eligibility is based on a review of records...and there are no records?
Can a lack of records at the time of review harm a recipient's chances of having their benefits continued? That's debatable, at best, though I've encountered at least one representative who seemed to think so. However, the answer to the question of whether or not a benefit recipient should keep going to the doctor for the sake of a future review may have at least a little to do with whether or not the individual's condition is mental or physical.
Regarding physical impairments, for those who have reached MMI (maxiumum medical improvement), there may be very little reason to keep going to the doctor on a routine basis. And for someone who has been released by their doctor after the doctor has concluded that MMI has been reached, to continue making office visits would seem to be a non-productive use of time (particularly by the doctor).
With mental impairments, the situation may be completely different. If a benefit recipient has schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, or any one of a number of other mental conditions, it's not likely that the need for treatment will dissipate after a claim has been won. And most examiners conducting a review of an individual's disability claim would probably find it unusual if treatment had not been obtained for quite some time and records were not available as a result.
Should you keep going to the doctor after you've won your benefits for the sake of future reviews of your claim? Answer: if you need to be seen by a doctor then go, and if you don't need to be seen...then don't go. But treatment should probably not be sought simply for the sake of a continuing disability review (please bear in mind, though, that if you are trying to initially win your benefits, you should be seen regularly so you or your representative can present medical documentation with which to win your claim).
What happens if your claim is reviewed and you do not have current medical records? You will most likely be sent to a consultative exam. However, the findings of CE exams are "very thin", that is to say generally useless. In most cases, other than allowing SSA to fulfill their "recency of medical evidence" requirement, their effect is generally meager.
As an anecdotal contribution to this post, I should mention that many disability examiners have actually remarked that it is difficult to stop someone's benefits if they have not had continued medical treatment simply because without such documentation it is difficult to show that medical improvement has actually taken place. And without medical improvement being demonstrated, a Social Security Disability or SSI recipient cannot have their benefits stopped on the basis of a medical rationale.
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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
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Getting disability for fibromyalgia
SSI disability for children with ADHD
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
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More Social Security Disability SSI Questions
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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
Who can help me file for disability?
Filing for disability in California
How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California
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SSD and SSI applications in California
What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?
Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?
Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?
How long does a disability case take in California
After you file for disability in California
Filing for disability in California and your condition
Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process
The California disability process
Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?
The Social Security Disability process in California
California Disability determination process
Disability approval criteria in California
California Social Security Disability decisions
Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California
Questions about disability in California
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California Social Security Back Pay
Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?
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California review of Social Security Disability claim
California Social Security Disability status
VA disability and California Social Security Disability
Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case
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Applying for disability benefits in California
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How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?
Why do disability claims take so long in California?
How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?
Disability claims in California with certain conditions
Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California
Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California
Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California
Winning California disability
Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?
Getting approved for disability in California
Winning disability in California
California Disability Lawyers and Representation
Getting a disability attorney in California
Finding a new disability attorney in California
Applying for SSI in California
Filing for SSI disability in California
SSI disability denied in California
Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?
How to apply for SSI Disability in California
Doctors, medical records, and medical exams
Doctors and applying for disability in California
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Disability hearings in California
Disability Hearings in California
California quick disability hearing
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How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?
Disability denials in California
Disability Denied in California
If a disability claim is denied in California
Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California
If you get denied Social Security Disability in California
Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?
Getting approved or denied for disability in California
Disability appeals in California
How do you file a disability appeal in California?
How many disability appeals do you get in California?
If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?
If your disability reconsideration is denied in California
Filing a reconsideration appeal in California
Why was I denied disability in California?
Qualifying for disability in California
Qualifying for disability in California
Qualify for SSD in California
Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?
Disability lawyers in California
Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California
Cost of a California disability attorney
Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?
Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California
Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California
How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?
Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?
Lawyer for a disability hearing in California
Why was I denied disability in California?
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.