Continuing Disability Reviews are a fact of life for SSDI recipients, but the first time you encounter one, it can be a surprise and a shock, as well as scary. The first thing to remember is that it’s nothing you did wrong—it’s just a part of the normal benefits procedure. In most cases, these reviews aren’t anything you have to worry about. Usually, such a review occurs about every three years, though some can occur more often and some less.
Once you get used to these happening, it will just become something you deal with as it arises, but at first, you’ll probably have questions about how it works. Let’s explore the process of the Social Security Continuing Disability Review, what it is, how long it takes and what it means for the benefits you count on every day.
What Is a Social Security Continuing Disability Review?
A Social Security Continuing Disability Review exists to determine whether you’re still subject to mental or physical health and medical conditions that qualify you to receive disability benefits.
If the review finds that your condition has not improved, your benefits will likely continue uninterrupted at their prior level. If your condition has improved, your case may require further review.
What Does the Review Consider?
The Continuing Disability Review will consider not only your current status and whether your existing disability has improved, but any new mental health or medical conditions that may have developed since your approval or last review. It will also review potential new treatments for your condition.
Because of this, you’ll want to always keep a detailed record of the medical visits and treatments you’ve received. You’ll also want to record any changes in your existing conditions from the period you began collecting SSDI, SSI or both.
More or Less Frequent Reviews
If your condition isn’t expected to improve—you’ve achieved a point of Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) and your doctor has issued a statement of such—your reviews can occur less frequently. The reviews of these cases will usually occur every seven years instead of every three years.
Likewise, if expectations are that your condition may improve more rapidly, you may be subject to more frequent reviews. The SSA could decide to review the case every two years or even every year, at its discretion.
Will I Lose My Benefits?
It’s uncommon for someone who genuinely needs their Social Security benefits to lose them due to a review. Your case isn’t going to be subject to any changes in SSDI requirements. If you qualified before, you’re not going to lose your benefits just because the rules have changed, if your condition hasn’t improved. The only exception to this rule is a child who turns 18. At this point, the child must undergo a review to see if their condition qualifies for adult-level benefits.
Why Might a Child Turning 18 Lose Benefits?
Because the definition of what qualifies as a disability changes for everyone from childhood to adulthood, all those who reach the age of 18 must undergo reevaluation. In many cases, conditions that qualify one for benefits as a child don’t qualify them as adults. ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a prime example. Usually, adults with ADHD aren’t considered disabled for SSDI benefits.
What If I Ignore My Notice?
Never, ever ignore a notice from the federal government. Those who think they can ignore their Social Security Continuing Disability Review notice and put off the review are mistaken. In fact, failing to respond promptly to these notices is one of the issues that can result in you losing your benefits entirely. You’re much better off simply undergoing the review.
How Long Will My Review Take?
It’s understandable to feel stressed during these reviews, but understand that they aren’t done and returned right away. It’s important to have a degree of patience and the confidence that it’s unlikely you’ll lose your benefits. In general, periodic reviews take anywhere from one to two months to complete.
When to Call an Attorney
If your benefits are denied after your periodic review, you may be able to challenge the decision with the help of a qualified Social Security disability attorney. There are channels you can go through to get benefits restored, but they can be complex and detailed, and any mistake can be critical. If you’re in the Colton, California, region and you need help with a disability case, call The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour for a consultation today.