Termination of Social Security Disability Benefits

Termination of Social Security Disability Benefits

In 2015, over 775,000 people received awards of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration. Once someone begins receiving SSDI benefits, a key concern they face is whether these benefits could later be terminated. If you start receiving SSDI benefits, it is important to understand potential factors that may terminate your benefits.

The Difference Between SSI and SSDI Benefits

Before delving into the possible terminating factors, one must first understand what kinds of social security benefits he or she is receiving. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two different benefits programs: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI is a needs-based program. To be eligible to receive SSI, a person does not need to have paid any Social Security taxes or have held employment. In contrast, you can only receive SSDI benefits if you have paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes over your lifetime. The SSA will also consider how recently you worked and how long you worked.

Factors That Could Terminate SSDI Benefits

There are four main factors that could lead to termination of SSDI benefits:

  1. Medical Improvement: If the medical condition that triggered your eligibility to receive social security disability benefits subsequently improves, the SSA may find you are no longer disabled and will terminate your payments. Specifically, the SSA engages in continuing disability reviews of all beneficiaries of SSDI benefits to determine whether the beneficiary is still disabled. It should be noted, however, that the review standards are not as strict as those used when initially determining eligibility for benefits.
  2. Gaining New Employment/Returning to Former Employment: If you start working again, the SSA will need to examine whether this employment constitutes “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). As of 2016, the SSA will generally find a person is engaging in SGA if he or she is earning more than $1,130). However, a person receiving disability benefits may be eligible for what is considered a “Trial Work Period” (TWP) wherein they can continue to be eligible for benefits while attempting to return to work. In 2016, returning to work and earning more than $810 per month will trigger the beginning of the trial work period. The TWP will continue for up to nine months before your benefits will terminate. After that period, you will no longer be considered disabled and the payments will stop.
  3. Reaching Retirement Age: Since you cannot receive both Social Security retirement benefits and SSDI benefits, SSDI benefits will stop once beneficiaries obtain retirement age and start receiving retirement benefits.
  4. Becoming Incarcerated or Otherwise Institutionalized: Your disability benefits will cease during any period of time when you are incarcerated.

 Get Help From a Charleston, SC Disability Attorney

If you are worried that your benefits may soon be terminated or you believe they have been wrongly terminated, the experienced SSDI attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC can help you evaluate your claim or determine your possibility of success on appealing the termination decision.

Contact our Mount Pleasant office today for help.