Once you receive your social security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has the right to periodically review your file to determine whether or not you are still disabled.
Typically, if your health has not improved, or the disability still keeps you from being able to work, you will continue to receive benefits. However, if your condition has improved, or no longer interferes with your ability to work, then you may face a reduction or complete reversal of your benefits.
Frequency of Review
How often your file is reviewed is based on a number of factors, such as your diagnosis, the severity of the condition, and how long it has been since you were awarded disability benefits/went through your last review.
Typically, if your condition is expected to improve, you’ll have a review 18 months after your award date.
If your condition may or may not improve, you’ll undergo review around every three years.
If your condition is not expected to improve, you’ll be reviewed approximately once every seven years.
Notification of Review
When your file is up for review, you will receive a letter asking you to visit your local SSA office.
The Review Process
When you appear for a review, you will be asked questions about your medical condition and any improvements. You will need to provide doctors names, facility names, patient record numbers, etc. to support continuing medical treatment for the condition. If you have worked since the last review, or since you were initially awarded your benefits, you will need to bring proof of income and type of work done.
The Decisionmaking Process
The local SSA office will forward all of the information, including your answers to the questions, to the state office for review, and an experienced disability examiner will request updated copies of your medical records from doctors and treatment facilities. From here, the examiner will meet with a medical consultant, and the two of them will work together to evaluate your case and determine if you still qualify to receive disability benefits.
If the medical information provided is not up-to-date, you may be asked to undergo a special examination. If that happens, you will be notified of the time, date, and location.
The Appeals Process
If for any reason you disagree with the decision that’s been made during the review, you have the right to appeal it.
There are four levels of appeal:
- appeals counsel
- federal court
You’ll have 60 days to appeal from one level to the next.
Keep in mind, there are special rules that allow for you to continue working, as long as you don’t exceed monthly income limits – so being disabled does not necessarily preclude you from earning income outside the social security payments.
If you have any questions or concerns about the social security disability review process, feel free to get in touch.