Most people in Southern California who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits do not stop to consider an unpleasant outcome: will the benefits ever be terminated? The answer is “maybe.” The Social Security Administration has strict requirements for periodically reviewing benefit awards and determining whether a recipient is entitled to a continuation of benefits. This post will review the conditions under which SSD disability benefits may be terminated.
All disability recipients are required to inform the SSA of any change in their medical condition and ability to work. Failure to provide this information can, without further findings, lead to a termination of benefits. Disability benefits can also be terminated if the recipient’s medical condition improves to the point where the recipient is able to return to work.
The SSA has three standards for review. If the medical condition causing the beneficiary’s disability is “expected” to improve, the case is reviewed within six to 18 months after benefits are awarded. If improvement in the disabling medical condition is “possible,” the case is reviewed no sooner than three years. Cases in which improvement is “not expected” are reviewed no sooner than seven years after benefits begin.
If, after reviewing a beneficiary’s medical condition, the SSA determines that he or she is no longer disabled, the agency will send a letter giving notice that benefits may be terminated. At that point, the beneficiary can submit additional medical evidence that supports a finding of continuing disability. If the SSA orders that benefits are terminated, the recipient has the same appeal options available if the initial application is denied. Anyone who receives a letter from the SSA stating that benefits will be terminated may benefit from consulting an attorney who handles SSDI cases. Such a consultation can provide a useful evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of reversing the decision terminating benefits.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Planner: What Can Cause Benefits To Stop?,” accessed on Jan. 30, 2017