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Recipients of SSDI and SSI can have their disability benefits taken away for many reasons. The most common reasons relate to an increase in income or payment-in-kind. Individuals can also have their benefits terminated if they are suspected of fraud or convicted of a serious crime.

For the most part, individuals do not have benefits taken away as a result of an improved condition. Periodic reviews are often ordered by the court on an average of three years, but the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally considers the prognosis of a disability benefits applicant at the time of their application. They will adjust the review period in light of the recipient’s medical outlook.

Dr. Bill LaTour ensures his clients know what to expect from their case which is why our team has written out the four most common reasons disability benefits may be revoked in Los Angeles. Read on to learn more about when, how, and why the SSA might take away your benefits.

Court-Order Continuing Disability Reviews

A woman with a prosthetic leg out for a walk in Los Angeles.During your application process for disability benefits, your assigned judge will set a date for a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). This review is set to determine if your disability is still present and review whether you still qualify to receive benefits. Typically, CDRs happen every three years.

During a CDR, all of your medical and case information will be considered and reviewed by the SSA. Most often, their recommendation will be for another review in three or so years. They may also request an examination by a doctor affiliated with the SSA.

Your CDR may happen sooner than three years if the judge anticipates that your condition will improve more quickly. On the other hand, the judge may also set your CDR date up to seven years for medical conditions unlikely to improve or for people over 50.

Making Too Much Income

One requirement to receive SSDI or SSI benefits is that you must be incapable of making a living. The legal term for this is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), which simply means you have to make less than the set SGA limit to receive your benefits. If you earn over this certain wage limit per month, you may not be eligible for benefits.

SGA limits for 2022 are $1,350 a month for non-blind people and $2,260 for people with blindness. You can also have benefits terminated if your assets exceed $2,000—not including your personal residence and other exceptions.

The SSA can also count non-income-earning activities as “substantial work activity.” So, volunteer work and work done as a favor can sometimes cause a recipient to fall above the SGA limit. The SSA values volunteer and favor work based on the approximate market value of the labor.

Income from return-to-work programs are exempt from these limits, including Ticket to Work and Plan to Self Support (PASS) work plans.

Retirement or Turning 18

An older man sitting in a wheelchair. Children on disability about to turn 18 will have their eligibility reviewed prior to their 18th birthday. This review can be delayed until the child is 19 if they are enrolled as a full-time student. Benefits will likely continue for children who are disabled, but children receiving disability benefits related to their parents’ condition may no longer be eligible.

Those who reach retirement age will have their disability income converted to retirement income automatically.

Arrest and Imprisonment

Anyone arrested for a crime and facing charges will have their SSI benefits stopped after one month of incarceration. Benefits will then resume upon proof of release. If the recipient is released, later convicted of their crime, and sentenced to further imprisonment, their benefits will once again terminate after a month of incarceration and resume again upon release.

Disability benefits not part of SSI, such as retirement, SSDI, or survivor benefits, will cease upon conviction for a crime. So, an individual can be incarcerated and charged with a crime, but their benefits will not stop until they have been formally convicted.

Note that certain felony crimes, including defrauding the SSA, will automatically cause your benefits to terminate for life. The SSA rigorously investigates and presses charges for all attempts to defraud them.

Protect Your Disability Benefits by Working With a California Disability Lawyer

You can reduce your risk of having benefits taken away by working with an experienced California disability lawyer to prepare for your five year review, help you determine whether your income qualifies, and take into account major life changes that could affect your eligibility.

The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour has been helping disabled individuals in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Inland Empire, and Orange County get the disability benefits they need for years. Call Dr. Bill LaTour and his team today at 800-803-5090, or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.