Congratulations! Your Social Security Disability Benefits (SSD) application has been approved, and you’re now receiving benefits. We know how important SSD benefits are to you and your family. We also know the blood, sweat and tears you poured into the process – especially if your benefits were granted after one or more appeals.
Now that your application has been approved, you’re probably wondering when and if those SSD benefits end. There are two situations that will cause your SSD benefits to end.
Employed in Substantial Gainful Activity
The Social Security Administration will terminate SSD benefits when you engage in work that it considers substantial gainful activity. In 2017 (the amount changes annually), the SSA considers you gainfully employed if your monthly earnings exceed $1,170, or $1,950 if you are blind.
Termination will occur even if you continue to meet the SSA’s criteria for disability based upon either the medical condition that gave rise to your application or a new one. That’s because SSD isn’t based solely on your disability; rather, it’s based on whether that disability interferes with your ability to participate in substantial gainful activity.
Improvement in Your Medical Condition
SSD benefits will end if your condition improves to the point that you are no longer disabled and can return to work. The SSA will make that determination either through information you provide, or during a continuing disability review.
When you receive SSD benefits, you agree to keep the SSA informed of any changes to your medical condition, good or bad. For example, if you were undergoing kidney dialysis when you applied for SSD benefits, you must inform the SSA when dialysis ends. Likewise, you must inform the SSA if your treatment increases, such as if you went from two dialysis sessions per week to four.
The SSA also conducts continuing disability reviews of every SSD recipient. These reviews let the SSA examine information added to your medical record since your application was approved (or since the last continuing disability review) to determine if your condition has improved. The frequency of these reviews varies depending on the severity of your disability.
SSD recipients are assigned to one of three categories when their application is approved; categories are assigned based on the likelihood that your medical condition will improve. Depending on the category, your case could be reviewed anywhere from once every six months to once every seven years. The SSA will notify you of how frequently you can expect to go under a review in your award letter.
During a continuing disability review, the SSA has the burden of proving that you are no longer disabled. They can make that determination only if the severity of your disability, as it relates to your ability to work, has significantly decreased, or if the claims examiner or vocational specialist determines that you are capable of engaging in substantial gainful activity.
More than 90% of cases subject to a continuing disability review are approved for continued benefits. If you’re worried about your upcoming review, we can help. Our experienced attorneys can help you complete the required forms and compile the medical records that will support your continued claim of disability. And we only take a fee if your benefits are approved.
Contact our office today at (847) 577-4476 to schedule an appointment to discuss your continuing disability review.