Continuing Disability Review
Although applying for benefits is typically the most difficult step in the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process, it is not the only time that individuals may be required to establish their eligibility. Instead, disability recipients must also undergo periodic continuing reviews that evaluate whether they continue to qualify for benefits. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security attorneys have helped many Massachusetts residents understand the continuing review process and what it can mean for their benefits status.Understanding the Continuing Disability Review
While disability is a permanent status for some individuals who have suffered from particularly difficult health conditions, such as a stroke, it can also be a temporary status that eventually gives way to a renewed ability to work. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is required by law to conduct periodic assessments of disability applicants in order to identify people who may no longer qualify for, or no longer need, benefits. This process is known as a “continuing disability review.”
This process is generally less demanding and less intensive than initial SSDI applications. Typically, a review begins with the SSA sending a beneficiary a form to complete concerning his or her current medical condition, whether he or she has been to see a doctor, whether he or she has experienced any new complications or symptoms, and whether he or she has returned to work, among other things. Beneficiaries will also be encouraged to provide updated or recent medical evidence to the SSA, including the results from recent tests or medical visits.
Based on the information that a beneficiary provides, the SSA will then determine whether there has been any medical improvement in the beneficiary’s condition. If not, the review is complete and the beneficiary will continue to receive benefits. If there has been medical improvement, the SSA will next consider whether the improvement is such that the beneficiary could return to work. If so, the beneficiary will be notified that his or her benefits will stop but will be given a chance to appeal the medical improvement determination.
The timeline for continuing disability reviews ranges significantly depending on a beneficiary’s condition, but it generally occurs every three to seven years. For those with conditions where improvement is anticipated, reviews may occur more often than every three years, while those with permanent conditions may find that their reviews occur only every 10 years or so. Generally, younger beneficiaries will be subjected to more frequent reviews than those who are past retirement age.
In addition to these routine reviews, continuing disability reviews can also be “triggered” by certain events, such as when a beneficiary returns to work, or reports that a medical condition has improved. They can also arise from independent medical evidence that suggests a condition has improved, or when new treatments arise for a condition that could improve a condition.Consult a Government Benefits Attorney in Massachusetts
Receiving notice of a continuing disability review can be unsettling and confusing. It is important to understand that these reviews are usually routine and not necessarily indicative of a problem with your disability status. As with an initial application for SSDI, it is important to detail your medical condition as thoroughly as possible during the review process and to make sure that anyone reviewing your application will understand how your disability limits your ability to work or go about your day-to-day life. The government benefits lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have helped Massachusetts residents living with many types of medical conditions. We have represented individuals from Norfolk, Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex Counties, as well as New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Contact us for more information at (800) 367-0871 or online.