Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Social Security Disability Re-evaluations a.k.a. reviews

Someone recently had the question: "I heard that social security will re-evaluate you every three years. Is this true?" Answer: maybe.

After you are first approved for disability benefits, your SSD or SSI case is set for a review at some point in the future. This may surprise or even dismay some individuals who assume that once disability benefits have been granted, they are set in stone for life, particularly since SSA awards disability benefits on the basis of a disabling condition (which may result from one condition or a combination of conditions) that is A) considered to be non-temporary and B) completely disabling in terms of a claimant's inability to engage in substantial gainful work activity.

Social security does award disability benefits based on the assumption that a person's disability is complete and is, or will be, longstanding. But...a review of the disability claim will still occur periodically every few years. Which is understandable since even a condition that is severe enough to rule out the ability to work can be subject to medical improvement.

When a review is conducted will depend upon two things. The first is the diary date. This is analogous to an alarm clock setting for when a case should be reviewed. Cases are diaried, or set for review, every three or seven years from the time a case has been approved. In some cases, the first review occurs sooner than three years (e.g. 12 months or 18 months).

However, whether or not a case will actually be reviewed according to that timetable will depend, to some extent, on how backed up a social security field office (translation: local social security office) claims representative (CR) is AND ALSO what the social security administration's current priorities are for the disposal of medical reviews (i.e. when continuing disability reviews are backed up, they may become a higher priority).

In some cases, continuing disability reviews or CDRs have occurred years behind schedule due to how behind an individual CR has been, or how behind SSA has been.

After all, a disability examiner at a state disability determination services agency can't conduct a review of a case until the case has been sent for review by a social security field office. And a field office can't initiate this before being notified by a payment center that the review should be conducted in the first place.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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