Are you currently receiving Social Security disability benefits? If so, you’re probably used to filling out forms. There’s one more form you need to know about, however. This one, called a Disability Update Report, is required for you to keep receiving your benefits. 

What Is This Form?

A Disability Update Report, also known as Form SSA-445, is a crucial part of the Social Security Administration’s Continuing Disability Review (CDR) process. Required Social Security Disability Paperwork by a Computerby federal law, this process involves periodic reviews of individuals who are receiving benefits to determine their ongoing eligibility.

To put it simply, the SSA needs to know if you are still disabled, and therefore still entitled to receive the benefits you’re now getting. The CDR must be done every three years.

When filling out the Disability Update Report, you will be asked to provide information about your current medical condition, your overall health, and your employment situation. The answers you give will then be used to decide if you are still eligible for SSDI payments.

What Information Is Necessary?

The Disability Update Report is used to collect information about your medical condition(s) in general, whether you’ve recently received treatment for them, and if you have recently attempted returning to work. It also asks you to report any recent education or training. Another question is intended to gauge your interest in rehabilitation programs that could help you go back to your previous job or secure a new position. Note that the government’s definition of “recent” may be different than yours; it usually refers to the past two years.  

The Disability Update Report will ask if, in the past two years, you have:

  • Worked for someone or been self-employed
  • Told by your doctor that you can return to work
  • Attended any school or work training program 
  • Been hospitalized or had any surgery
  • Seen a doctor or visited a clinic for medical care related to your condition

You will also be asked if you are interested in rehabilitation that would allow you to return to work in some capacity. 

Additionally, in order to double-check that you meet all the requirements for Social Security disability payments, the SSA will look at your income and living arrangements.

What Can I Expect If I Don’t Complete and Return the Form? 

It’s important that you fill out this form and return it in a timely manner. You can mail it in, or you can submit all the information online.

Should you fail to do so in a timely manner, representatives from the Social Security Administration will make several attempts to contact you. 

If you still haven’t completed the Disability Update Report, the SSA will initiate a full medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR), a much more time-consuming and possibly inconvenient (depending on your disability and your living arrangements) process.

What’s more, you run the risk of having your disability payments cut off if you do not cooperate with the SSA’s requirements.

My Case Got Flagged. What Should I Do?

It may happen that your Disability Update Report will get flagged, requiring you to undergo a full Continuing Disability Review Report. This could happen for a number of reasons, and they don’t necessarily mean that your benefits will be revoked or that you did anything wrong. If you receive notice that you need to fill out a longer form, or that the SSA requires you to have a medical exam, don’t panic.  

This is a good time to call an attorney who works with SSDI cases. A lawyer with experience advocating for people just like you can answer your questions, discuss your options, and help you fill out all the necessary forms. 

Better Safe Than Sorry

Even if your case hasn’t been flagged, getting an attorney’s assistance is still a smart choice. Legal help will ensure that you continue to receive all the benefits to which you’re entitled, and will make the entire process easier to understand and hassle-free for you. 

If you fail to complete any of the required actions and your benefits are suspended or discontinued, it can take months to get everything straightened out again. 

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in MA?

If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.


John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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