For millions of Americans who rely on government disability benefits to make ends meet when they cannot work, it can come as a shock when they discover that they may no longer be eligible, or that stricter eligibility requirements have made their condition no longer covered.
The Social Security Administration (SSA), like most government agencies, has a complex bureaucratic process that requires strict deadlines, substantial medical evidence and a review process that the SSA may initiate when there is a change in the recipient’s status.
For Indiana residents who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it can help to find out more about what to expect and how to keep getting the benefits that they are entitled to receive.
The Continuing Disability Review (CDR)
The Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is a process required by the SSA to determine an SSD or SSI recipient’s periodic eligibility status. Just because an SSD/SSI recipient has been eligible in the past does not mean that they will continue receiving benefits. Although the CDR process typically occurs every three years, a major life event may trigger a CDR before then.
In addition to being prepared to go through a periodic CDR, recipients should also be aware of what they must do if the SSA calls for a CDR sooner. Some of the events that could initiate a CDR include:
- The recipient’s return to the workforce.
- Medical records that show an improvement in the recipient’s disability.
- A new treatment is available that can alleviate or heal the disability.
Because eligibility requirements for SSI/SSD recipients are becoming more stringent, any improvement in a person’s condition or a return to the workforce can initiate a CDR that may then gather evidence to support a decision to deny future benefits.
Eligibility requirements for SSD/SSI benefits
The SSA has a strict definition of disability that an applicant’s condition must satisfy for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):
- They cannot work or engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA).
- They cannot continue present job or adjust to other work.
- Their condition will last at least one year or result in death.
Whereas SSDI offers benefits to workers based on their contributions to the Social Security trust fund, SSI benefits apply to disabled, aged, or blind individuals who have limited income or financial resources. Those who are not eligible for SSDI benefits may qualify for the SSI program, and some recipients may qualify for both programs.
However, just because your work or health status has changed does not have to mean an end to benefits, especially if the disability still exists.