Income is essential to living with dignity. Too often, disabled individuals are stripped of that dignity when they are denied Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits or supplemental security income (SSI), or those benefits are suddenly stopped. That’s why it’s important that disabled individuals understand the claims process and how to protect their interests.
To succeed on a SSDI or SSI claim, you’ll have to put in a lot of work on the front end to build a competent and aggressive initial claim, and potentially appealing a claim denial. Successfully obtaining benefits is just the beginning of your journey with the Social Security Administration. Over time, you’ll be subjected to a number of examinations and re-evaluations to determine whether you still qualify to receive disability benefits.
SSA’s Continuing Disability Review
The federal government has a financial interest at stake in these disability cases. Paying out monthly disability benefits to those they deem unworthy can cost the government a lot of money. That’s why they require SSDI and SSI recipients to undergo periodic re-evaluation, referred to as Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
How often will a CDR occur? It depends on a number of factors. The severity of your disability is one of them. If your condition is expected to improve, then you’ll have to submit to a CDR at least once every three years. If your condition isn’t expected to improve, then you’ll be re-evaluated at least once every seven years. Income and a return to work are other triggers for a CDR.
What does the CDR entail?
Practically speaking, the CDR follows a similar analysis to the one that is utilized during the initial claims phase. Medical records are submitted and analyzed, and you may be asked to attend an examination with a doctor selected by the Social Security Administration. The focus of the CDR is to determine if you’re capable of returning to work or otherwise performing substantial gainful activity.
This is an important process. If the Social Security Administration finds that your medical condition has significantly improved or that, despite a lack of improvement of your medical condition, you continue to work, then your SSDI or SSI benefits can be halted. This means the financial lifeline that you rely upon can suddenly be severed.
What to do if your benefits are halted
If your SSDI or SSI benefits are stopped, you need to take action to try to get them reinstated. You have the right to appeal the cessation of your benefits to the Social Security Administration, which means that you’ll have the opportunity to lay out your case before a reviewer and, if necessary, before an administrative law judge. You can also request that your benefits continue during this time.
Prior to making your case to an administrative law judge, you should ensure that you’ve developed strong legal arguments to support your position. Your medical records should be clear and complete, and they should show why your condition still renders you disabled under the law. This might mean seeking out evaluations that are separate from the one you underwent during the CDR. Don’t overlook challenging substantial gainful activity. This phrase has a definition that may depend on the circumstances at hand. Don’t just sit back and let the government tell you that you make too much money to qualify for SSDI or SSI without analyzing their claim.
Secure help with your SSDI/SSI issues
Disabled individuals need support. Far too often, we see the government deny eligible individuals. But if you’re disabled, there are concrete steps that you can take to protect your interests. If you’d like to learn more about how to do so, continue to research our firm and what we have to offer our clients.