The law requires the Social Security Administration (SSA) to regularly review the current medical status of all people who receive disability benefits to ensure that those people continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally speaking, if a person’s health does not improve, or if their disability still prevents them from pursuing gainful employment, they will continue to receive the benefits to which they are entitled.
These ongoing disability reviews help the SSA ensure that only eligible individuals receive disability benefits. This helps support the integrity of the Social Security system while providing fair services to children and adults with chronic diseases, injuries, and other disabling conditions.
To make better decisions, the SSA first collects updated information about disability benefits recipients’ personal health. They may request medical records from their doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources. They may also ask how their health conditions restrict the patients’ activities, request the results of their recent medical examinations, and inquire about any medical treatments that they receive. If the SSA needs more information, you may be asked to take a particular exam or test at the SSA’s expense and at no cost to you.
The actual frequency of review depends on the nature and severity of your symptoms if your conditions qualify for disability and are expected to improve.
Your initial ruling notice should tell you when you should expect to have your first medical review.
During the medical review, the SSA may ask how your health has affected you since your last review and whether you have noticed any improvements in your condition. You should be able to provide:
The SSA will forward your case to the disability recognition service in your state that makes disability decisions on the SSA’s behalf. This process generally does not apply to people receiving benefits under short term disability insurance. You can expect to be asked about your doctor, hospital, and other sources for your medical history. They also may ask whether your health restricts your activities, for a copy of the results from your physical examination, and what medical care you have received recently.
If the officials need more information, they may ask you to participate in a special examination or test at no cost to you. You would receive written notice of the exam date, time, and location.
An experienced disability inspector and a medical consultant carefully review all of the information you provided about your case and then make their decision.
If your health improves and the SSA determines that you are able to work, your benefits may stop. Your benefits may also stop if the following conditions occur:
If the SSA determines that your disability benefits should stop and you disagree with its decision, you can appeal. This means you can ask the SSA to review your file again to determine whether it may have made a mistake. There are four levels of appeal, and you usually have 60 days to go from one level to the next. The four levels are:
Contact the SSA to request more information about what you can expect from the process. If the whole process seems a bit overwhelming, you can seek the help of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. Your attorney can help you take the right steps to preserve your benefits.