On November 18, 2019, a proposed rule affecting Social Security disability continuing disability reviews was published in the Federal Register. On January 21, 2021, the proposed rule was withdrawn.
As a Social Security disability recipient, it's essential to understand the significance of the proposed rule and its withdrawal and, more importantly, how continued disability reviews work according to current Social Security disability regulations.
What Is a Continuing Disability Review?
Social Security law requires the Social Security Administration to conduct continuing disability reviews to determine Social Security disability recipients' continued eligibility for disability benefits. These reviews must occur unless the Social Security Administration waives the requirement or determines that the disability is permanent.
Generally, you can expect a continuing disability review:
- Within six to eighteen months, if the Social Security Administration marks your case as "medical improvement expected"
- Within three years, if the Social Security Administration marks your case as "medical improvement possible"
- Within seven years, if the Social Security Administration marks your case as "medical improvement not expected"
Both your medical condition and your age are considered in how your case is labeled and how often your review occurs.
What the Proposed Rule Would've Changed for Continuing Disability Reviews
If the proposed rule had become a federal regulation, some Social Security disability recipients would have had more frequent continuing disability reviews than the current law requires.
Continuing disability reviews are often stressful for Social Security disability recipients. Not only do Social Security disability recipients have to comply with the continuing disability review process, but they may also worry about losing their benefits. For these reasons, many Social Security disability recipients may be relieved that the proposed rule that would increase the frequency of their continuing disability reviews was withdrawn.
How Continuing Disability Reviews Work
While the proposed rule was withdrawn, Social Security disability applicants must still face continuing disability reviews by their local Disability Determination Services (DDS) office.
The DDS claims examiner is looking to see if you are still disabled according to Social Security disability standards, and may consider:
- New medical records that have been created since the time of your initial Social Security disability eligibility approval
- The results of a medical exam conducted by a medical professional chosen and hired by the Social Security Administration
You must comply with reasonable DDS requests for medical records and attend required appointments to maintain your eligibility for Social Security disability.
If nothing about your medical condition has changed or if your condition has worsened, then your disability benefits should continue. However, if your medical condition has improved to the point where you can engage in substantial gainful activity, then the DDS claims examiner may find that you are no longer disabled.
Protect Your Social Security Disability Benefits
You have the right to consult with a Social Security disability lawyer if you receive notice that your case is undergoing a continuing disability review. An attorney can ensure that:
- All relevant medical records are provided to DDS. Your records should include information about all of your medical conditions and any limitations on your daily living activities or ability to work
- DDS complies with all legal requirements when requesting a medical exam
- You know all of your rights and are prepared to take action if you disagree with the DDS decision
Our Boston-area Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you if you have any concerns about your continuing disability review or continued eligibility for disability benefits. We only work with clients in New England, and we are committed to helping each of our clients get the full and fair benefits they deserve.
Please call, start a live chat, or complete our contact form today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at your convenience. We are happy to welcome you to our Natick office or meet by phone or video conference to discuss your claim and next steps.