The Continuing Disability Review and its effects on your SSD benefits

SSD recipients must undergo “Continuing Disability Reviews,” which occur at set times or due to changes in a person’s case, to keep receiving benefits.

By definition, people who qualify for Social Security Disability benefits must suffer from severely disabling conditions that are expected to persist for significant periods of time. Still, SSD benefits are never awarded on a permanent basis. Instead, Social Security conducts regular "Continuing Disability Reviews" to confirm that SSD recipients are still eligible for benefits. It is critical for beneficiaries in Indiana to understand the nature of these reviews and their potential impacts.

SSD eligibility review

During a Continuing Disability Review, a representative of the Social Security Administration evaluates whether a person's medical condition has changed substantially. If the severity of the condition has lessened, the representative must assess whether the person still meets Social Security's definition of disabled - in other words, whether the person's condition still prevents substantial gainful work.

The Social Security Administration conducts these reviews at regular intervals. If a person's condition is not anticipated to improve, a review must be performed once every five to seven years. If improvement is possible, reviews are completed every three years. In cases where medical improvement is expected sooner, reviews may be scheduled as often as every six months. In addition, reviews may be "triggered" under various circumstances, including the following:

· The beneficiary resumes working or begins earning income near the "substantial gainful activity" level

· A new treatment for the condition becomes available, making a reevaluation of the person's disablement necessary

· The Social Security Administration receives reports that a beneficiary's condition has improved, either from the beneficiary or from someone who would be aware of such improvements

A review may also be performed if the Social Security Administration comes across new information that calls into question the agency's decision to approve the person's application for SSD benefits.

Changes in benefits

If a review results in a determination that a beneficiary still qualifies as disabled, his or her SSD benefits will continue. However, if a person no longer is considered disabled under Social Security's strict standards, he or she will receive notice of cessation of benefits.

In these cases, beneficiaries have a right to appeal the Social Security Administration's decision. Beneficiaries may also request that they receive continued benefits throughout the appeal process. To qualify for ongoing benefits, SSD recipients must file a request for reconsideration and a request for continued benefits within 10 days of receiving notice of the cessation.

Much like appealing a denied SSD application, challenging a cessation of benefits may be challenging. As a result, anyone who has received notice of benefit loss after a Continuing Disability Review should consider consulting with an attorney who can offer guidance and assistance during the appeals process.