Are My Social Security Disability Benefits Permanent?Posted February 16, 2018 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®
Contrary to popular belief, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits are not considered permanent disability benefits. In fact, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) is supposed to review most cases every three to five years to determine whether an individual remains disabled. However, it is not uncommon for an Administrative Law Judge to recommend that a “younger individual,” which is defined as a person under the age of 50, be reviewed at the end of the first calendar year to see if there is medical improvement.
Historically, SSA had neglected these “continuing disability reviews,” but they are becoming more and more common. SSA has the burden of proving that there has been medical improvement when it comes to a disability review. However, it is not uncommon for SSA to deem that a medical improvement has occurred and stop benefits. You do have a right to appeal and you must read SSA’s notification letters carefully and follow the instructions. Here are some tips to keep in mind in hopes of ensuring a smooth disability review.
- Continue treating with your medical providers. If you stop treating, it is more likely that your benefits will be stopped.
- Respond to all notices. Pay attention to the deadlines in the letters that you receive from SSA. When returning requested forms to SSA, make sure you either drop them off at your local office and get a stamped receipt OR send them in by certified mail and request a signature.
- Get an updated letter of support from your treating specialist if you are in the midst of a review.
- Make sure SSA receives your updated medical records from your doctor if they are requested. Sometimes doctors fail to respond to SSA’s requests, which can jeopardize your benefits.
- Finally, be realistic. Some disabilities are permanent, but many are not. If your doctor is telling you to return to work, you may in fact be physically and mentally ready to start working again. Start slowly and make sure you notify SSA if you start earning money at any type of occupation.
Don’t worry. If the medical evidence and objective findings consistently supports that you remain disabled, you will likely retain your benefits. Just remember to make sure that you follow SSA’s directions and if you have any questions about the review process, call your local SSA office for details.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®