Successfully claiming Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a long, drawn-out battle. Initial claims are often denied, and appealing a claim oftentimes requires close attention to detail, strong legal arguments, and patience. Although recovering these benefits can provide significant financial relief to those who are unable to work on account of their disabilities, the truth of the matter is that the fight for these benefits may not be over. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will, from time-to-time, reevaluate an SSD claim to determine if an individual still qualifies for SSD benefits.
The SSA spells out the review process pretty clearly. Depending on one’s disabling condition, his or her claim will be reviewed within six to 18 months of the disabling condition’s onset. However, if improvement of the condition can’t be predicted but is possible, then the claim may be reviewed only every three years. Those individuals with disabilities that are not expected to improve will have their claims reviewed every seven years. When one’s case comes up for review, a hearing will be set.
At this hearing, the SSA will ask questions to determine the current condition of the disability. This means that the names and contact information of treating medical professionals will be requested, and patient record numbers will be expected. A disability examiner will likely ask the disabled individual questions regarding the condition, his or her ability to work, and how, if at all, the disability has changed since the last review. Individuals need to be honest during this questioning, as medical records will likely give the examiner a clear picture of the current situation.
Yet, the decision of whether an individual still qualifies for SSD is not always black and white. The examiner is given a lot of power to use the evidence at his disposal to issue a decision that he feels is right. However, the examiner is just one person. Therefore, those who have their benefits decreased or halted altogether may want to decide whether pursing reconsideration and appeal is right for them.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Reviewing Your Disability,” accessed on April 10, 2017