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Understanding the Timeline for Continuing Disability Reviews and Social Security Benefits


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12/20/2015
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After you have received an approval for Social Security disability benefits, you are likely filled with relief at the prospect of financial assistance during a difficult time in your life. It is important to understand, however, that the review process is not yet over. The Social Security Administration conducts what it refers to as “continuing disability reviews” during which time a claims examiner reviews the medical evidence relating to your claim to search for improvements. These reviews typically follow a schedule, or they can be triggered by certain occurrences, such as if you start earning too much money.

3 Scenarios and the Timeline for Continuing Disability Reviews

When can you anticipate being chosen for a continuing disability review with regard to your disability benefits? The following is a general overview:

  1. Your case has been categorized as “medical improvement expected.” This means that the Social Security Administration considers your impairment to have a high chance of improving. In these cases, a review typically is scheduled within six to eighteen months after you were first confirmed to have a disability. Examples of conditions that may be labeled as “medical improvement expected” include someone recovering from a knee or hip surgery. If you are older than age 55, however, it is less common for your condition to be deemed “medical improvement expected.”
  2. Your case has been labeled “medical improvement possible.” This means that you suffer from a condition that can be reasonably expected to improve. Examples of such illnesses include a mental illness or irritable bowel disease. If your case has been labeled “medical improvement possible,” you can anticipate having your case reviewed at least once every three years.
  3. Your case was labeled “medical improvement not expected” by the Social Security Administration. If the Administration does not believe that your impairment will improve, you will likely not have a review of your case until seven years after your initial application and approval for benefits. There are many different types of conditions that may fall under this category. Examples include cancers, blindness, deafness, autism, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Down syndrome. People who are over age 55 when applying for or obtaining benefits are more likely to be put on this seven-year review clock as well. This is because the older a recipient of benefits is, the less likely they are to experience improvement with regard to their condition.

In addition, if a child is receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, their case is likely to be reviewed at the time they reach age 18, regardless of their specific condition.

Exceptions to the Rule

It is important to note that while these review timelines do constitute the official procedure outlined by the Social Security Administration, deviations may occur. The Social Security Administration maintains a great deal of flexibility with regard to when the dates for reviews are scheduled. Some people receiving benefits may find themselves under review sooner than what is outlined above, while others may see reviews on a less frequent basis. Other factors can also influence the timing of a review, such as Administration budgetary issues.

For recipients of disability benefits, continuing disability reviews are not the only potential issue to be aware of. People who receive Supplemental Security Income benefits may also be subject to “redeterminations.” SSI is a needs-based program. As a result, the Social Security Administration conducts redeterminations to assess a beneficiary’s income, resources, and living arrangements in order to ensure that he or she is still within the allowable limits for the program. These redeterminations may occur every one to six years, or when a beneficiary undergoes a change that can affect their eligibility.

With proper guidance, you will likely come through your continuing disability review without issue and will continue to receive the benefits you deserve. We are here to offer the help that you may need. We encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 888-904-6847.



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