Q I received notice that my disability benefits are about to stop, what should I do?
For many disabled individuals, Social Security disability benefits are a financial lifeline crucial to overall well-being. These benefits can help to make up for the income that the person is unable to earn as a result of his or her condition. For this reason, receiving notice that disability benefits are about to cease can be a terrifying prospect for many people.
What Will Cause Disability Benefits to Stop?
Once you qualify for disability benefits, certain events can trigger these benefits to terminate. Examples of reasons for disability benefits to be cut off include the following:
- Improvement of your medical or psychiatric condition. The Social Security Administration conducts continuing disability reviews, usually in either 3- or 7-year increments. During this process, the Social Security Administration evaluates whether your condition has improved such that you are no longer eligible for disability benefits.
- You returned to work. This is the most common reason for disability benefits to cease. In most cases, you cannot work and continue to receive disability benefits. There are some cases in which this is permitted; however, specific provisions must be complied with. The Social Security Administration will evaluate whether you are engaging in substantial gainful activity, and if it is determined that you are, you may have your benefits terminated.
- You reached retirement age. People receiving disability benefits are no longer eligible once they reach full retirement age. This is because you cannot receive both Social Security disability benefits and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time. People who were previously receiving disability benefits will instead receive retirement benefits.
- You are incarcerated or institutionalized. If you are in jail, your disability benefits will stop for the period of time during which you are incarcerated. You may also see your benefits terminated if you are convicted of certain types of felonies.
- You receive too much income. This is another common reason for disability benefits to be terminated. To continue to be eligible for benefits, you must fall within the income or asset limits.
- You were a child when you first began receiving disability benefits and have since turned 18. When this happens, you will be reevaluated to see if your condition matches Social Security Administration standards for adults.
- Your living situation has changed. If you enter or leave an institution such as a nursing home or a halfway house, you may see your disability benefits terminated. Similarly, if you leave the country for more than 30 days, benefits can cease.
If your benefits have been terminated or about to terminate, it is crucial to take the proper steps in order to prevent the loss of benefits.
What to Do If Your Disability Benefits Stop
Any person receiving disability benefits will be subjected to periodic reviews to determine if they remain eligible. First, the Social Security Administration will contact you to request updates on your status as well as the treatment you are receiving for your condition. They will also look at your medical records to evaluate whether you are still deemed to be disabled. It is important to be responsive and cooperative with the Social Security Administration during this process.
If the Social Security Administration decides that you are no longer eligible for benefits, you will receive a letter stating that your benefits are being terminated. From this point forward, you have two months to continue receiving benefits. It is important to consider filing an appeal. It is important to begin the appeal process as quickly as possible and with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.
If you decide to file an appeal and you do so within ten days after receiving notice of termination, you can choose whether to continue receiving benefits while the Social Security Administration processes your disability appeal. If the judge overseeing the appeal sides with you, your benefits will continue. If the judge rules against you, however, the Social Security Administration can declare that you have been overpaid. If you file an appeal outside of that 100-day window, your benefits will be suspended until a judge rules on the appeal. In this case, the Social Security Administration must receive notice of your appeal within 60 days of your receipt of the disability benefits termination letter.
The first task on the to-do list for any person whose disability benefits are about to terminate is to contact an attorney. He or she can provide the guidance you need to have your benefits continue. We encourage you to contact us today for a free consultation at 888-904-6847.