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Preparing for a Disability Benefits Review

Recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration (SSA) know that their eligibility for such benefits is subject to review every few years. According to The Clauson Law Firm, most cases are reevaluated every three years; while some may not be looked at for up to seven years.

When the time does come for your benefits eligibility to be reviewed, you will receive notification from the SSA that the process has been initiated. So, now what do you do?  The best preparation is to be a good acquaintance of your health care providers. Regular office visits will ensure that your medical records are as up-to-date as possible. This is very critical since  determining whether your SSI benefits should continue or be stopped will be based on what is contained in your medical records. In other words, preparing for your benefits review needs to be an ongoing process. It is a smart tactic to schedule periodic doctor appointments as if your review is imminent, even though it may be months or even years in the future. Create a trail of medical information that will leave no doubt as to your physical status when SSA comes calling.

Once you are targeted for a review, you will receive a packet of continuing disability forms. For these, you will need to gather the same kind of information you assembled when you first applied for SSI benefits. These forms must be filled out correctly and returned promptly, or it could cause a delay in the entire review process. Contact a disability attorney in North Carolina if you need help putting together what you need. One statement you will be required to submit is telling SSA why you are unable to work at all or why you can’t work more hours than you are presently working.

The SSA will ask for a current list of your medications, contact information for all of your health care providers, when and why you saw each of them, and what treatments you received. It’s a tall order but if you keep track of your medical history as it occurs, producing those records will be a simple task.

All of your limitations will be considered when SSA evaluates whether your benefits should continue or be stopped. Therefore, besides listing the diagnosis for why you are receiving SSI, be prepared to list anything from your past that may contribute to what you can or cannot do. Even if you included this information on your initial claim, it’s a good idea to reiterate it again. It can only strengthen your case to continue receiving the benefits to which you are entitled.

The SSA will compare what is contained in your current medical files and how you answered
their questions regarding your activities to your records they have on file. Those include your old medical records, your initial application and your assessment. They will compare what you were able to do physically at the time of your application with what you can do at the time of your benefits review. If your records or answers indicate that medical improvement has occurred related to your ability to work, that could have an adverse effect on your benefits.

If you are receiving special assistance or accommodations at your workplace, it would be wise to plan ahead and have a letter from your employer that describes and confirms any accommodations they provide you.

As mentioned earlier, regular doctor visits will alleviate most question marks that could arise during the review of your case. If you haven’t seen a doctor at any time in the twelve months preceding your review, red flags may go up at SSA.  They may raise doubts that your disability is ongoing and could send you to a doctor of their choosing, who does not know you, has no intimate knowledge of your medical history, and could spend just a few minutes evaluating you. This physician’s conclusion drawn after spending very little time with you could determine the fate of your benefits.

Anticipation is key to preparing for your inevitable Continuing Disability Review. It is great foresight to create a file where you can gather and keep your medical records current. Each time you visit a health care provider for any reason related to why you receive SSI benefits, mark it down, keep the appointment slips and receipts, and file them for safekeeping. Doing that will save you a lot of time and aggravation if you are trying to build your case from scratch.

If you would rather not go it alone and need assistance, contact  The Clauson Law Firm and they can help you gather what you need, help you correctly fill out the SSA forms, and guide you through every step so that you are as prepared as you can be for your Continuing Disability Review.

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