Disability recipients are often surprised to learn that once they start receiving SSDI benefits they may not always be entitled to benefits. There are several reasons claimants may lose SSDI benefits. For instance, you could lose SSDI benefits if you return to work and make too much money or if your condition improves to the point the SSA determines you are no longer disabled.
Due to the lengthy time it takes for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to process disability cases it’s not unusual for many disability applicants to be owed hundreds or thousands of dollars in back pay. Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “If I qualify for disability benefits will I receive a SSDI lump sum payout?”
If you are injured or sick and unable to work for 12 continuous months you could be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. What many claimants do not know, however, is that getting SSDI benefits is not as simple as filling out an SSDI application form. In fact, many claimants who apply for SSDI benefits will not qualify, they will have their SSDI application denied, and they may have to apply for SSI benefits instead.
Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was just approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits after months of fighting with the SSA. Tell me, will they ever take my benefits away from me, and if so, what can I do to protect my SSDI benefits?”
If you have struggled months or maybe even years to win SSDI benefits the last thing you want is for the SSA to swoop in and take them away because you failed to do something or did something you didn’t know you shouldn’t do. The best way to make sure you keep your benefits is to get educated.
Why would the SSA stop my SSDI benefits?
There are several reasons the SSA can terminate SSDI benefits: you return to work and make too much money, you return to work and work too many hours, your condition is considered no longer severe and the SSA believes you can return to work, or you have reached your full retirement age.
Looking at the list you can see that some of the reasons the SSA will stop benefits is within your control; other reasons are not. Let’s take a look at each reason.
Working too much and making too much money
The SSA encourages all workers, who are able, to return to work as soon as possible. If you are able to work, you are no longer considered disabled. The SSA does have a program which allows you to earn your SSDI benefits as you attempt work for a specified number of months. Talk to the SSA BEFORE returning to work to make sure you understand how the program works.
Condition no longer considered severe by the SSA
Periodic reviews are done by the SSA to evaluate the condition for claimants who receive SSDI benefits. If you continue to have a severe health condition, you are receiving adequate medical attention, and you are not working it’s generally nothing to worry about.
If you receive notification that your benefits have been terminated after a SSA disability review you can challenge the termination of your SSDI benefits. It may also be a good idea to talk to a disability lawyer to make sure you have the sufficient information to prove you remain disabled.
You have reached your full retirement age
Some claimants who are receiving SSDI benefits mistakenly believe when they reach retirement age they will receive SSA retirement in addition to their SSDI disability payment. This is not the case. When you reach your full retirement age your SSDI benefits are converted to SSA retirement benefits and you will no longer receive SSDI disability benefits.
What happens when I die?
If you die but you have beneficiaries who are entitled to benefits the beneficiaries may continue to receive SSDI payments. This is even true if the SSA waits to award benefits after the claimant’sdeath. Those entitled to benefits can include a surviving spouse, child, or parent who was entitled to SSDI auxiliary benefits on the person’s record, during the month of death.
Many disability applicants are surprised when they are denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. What many do not realize, however, is that they are not alone. So what do you do when your SSDI application is denied? Is it better to simply apply again and start the SSDI process again? Should you immediately hire a lawyer and appeal? Is it better to simply to go back to work?