Health Improvements and Ending Disability Benefits

Health Improvements and Ending Disability Benefits


A large concern for individuals who have been approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is the possibility that those benefits will eventually be canceled. As a result, individuals receiving SSDI should be familiar with the process that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to determine whether an individual is eligible to continue to receive benefits.

Continuing Disability Review

The determination of whether an individual can continue receiving benefits is made through what is known as the Continuing Disability Review (CDR). Individuals are notified by mail that the SSA is reviewing the disability claim. CDR’s are ordinarily scheduled every three or seven years, depending on the severity of the individual’s condition and their prospect for improvement.

The CDR requires that individuals provide their medical records, treatment, and daily activities to the SSA. A disability claims examiner reviews all of this information and decides if sufficient medical improvement has occurred since the “comparison point of decision,” which is the date on which the individual was last found to be disabled. If the examiner finds that there has not been a medical improvement, the CDR is closed and the individual’s benefits continue. However, if the examiner determines that there have been sufficient improvements to the individual’s health, such that the individual can return to work, the person is no longer considered disabled and benefits will end.

An individual who has lost benefits due to a CDR determination that improvement has occurred has 60 days to request an appeal. The first level of appeal is a relatively informal hearing before a Hearing Officer. At this hearing, the individual can present any additional evidence he or she has, call witnesses, and testify to their condition. If the Hearing Officer finds that the impairment has ended, the individual has 60 days to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Importantly, the individual has only ten days from the Hearing Officer’s decision to request a continuance of benefits during the ALJ hearing.

The SSA conducts a medical and a work CDR. Under a medical CDR, the SSA looks to see whether the individual is meeting medical requirements to collect disability. Under a work CDR, the issue is whether the individual’s earnings are low enough to make them eligible for monthly benefits. An individual does not need to undergo a CDR based on work activity if he or she:

  1. Has received benefits for at least 24 months
  2. Is participating in the Ticket-to-Work program

However, the individual will still have to submit to a medical CDR when requested by the SSA.

Help with Your Claim

The retention of disability benefits is often critical for individuals and their families. If you would like more information or are facing a CDR, speak with an experienced disabilities law attorney today. At the Klok Law Firm LLC, we have proudly helped numerous individuals apply for, and keep, benefits under SSDI. We look forward to hearing from you.