The Social Security Administration is required to review periodically the case of every person who is receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. This process is called a “continuing disability review” and is intended to identify recipients who might no longer qualify for disability. If during a CDR, Social Security finds that your medical condition has improved enough so that you can work, your Social Security benefits will come to an end.
It is easier to pass a continuing disability review than it is to granted benefits in the first place. Most cases are set for review every three or seven years, depending on the likelihood that your condition will improve. If a claimant has a condition that is expected to improve medically, a CDR may be conducted even sooner than three years.
Assuming you haven’t returned to work, Social Security will first determine if there has been a medical development in your condition. If the answer is no, the continuing disability review is complete, and your benefits will not be affected. If the answer is yes, the SSA will then decide if the medical improvement affects your ability or inability to work. If it does not, you will continue to receive benefits.
If you are currently receiving benefits, you may receive a letter asking for updates on your medical conditions, your recent medical treatment, and current medications. A response is required within the time frame provided by the SSA. You need to keep in contact with the SSA or else they can and will terminate your benefits.
If you are asked to attend a physical or mental examination with one of the SSA’s doctors, you must attend that appointment. If you do not attend or reschedule the test, the SSA could stop your benefits alleging that you failed to cooperate.
Although it is possible to lose your benefits after a review, fortunately, it is highly unlikely. In the most recent study published by the SSA, disability benefits after a CDR are continued most of the time. Most individuals with impairments severe enough to be approved for disability in the first place do not medically improve, nor do they return to regular employment. However, for individuals who were approved for disability benefits based upon some injury or medical condition in which improvement was likely, it is more likely their disability benefits may not be continued. It depends on your impairment, the likelihood of medical improvement, and if you have returned to regular work activity.
Even if your benefits are stopped, you can appeal the decision and request that your claim is re-heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge