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Continuing Disability Review (CDR) should I be worried?

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I just received notification that the Social Security Administration is going to perform a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) on my claim. I am worried. Does this mean I am going to lose my SSDI benefits?”


What is a Continuing Disability Review (CDR)?

The Social Security Administration (SSA), under current Social Security laws, has the legal authority and right to review all disability claims. There are a variety of reasons the administration has decided this is necessary, but the primary reason is to verify that claimants continue to have a severe medical or physical impairment and they continue to lack the ability to work.

Most claimants can expect to have a CDR every three years; although the amount of time can be extended for claimants who have a condition that the SSA does not expect to improve. Additionally, if the SSA gets busy or has limited funding (from everything I have read) it appears that the CDR process is the first task that gets shuffled to the bottom of the “to do” list.

With that said, however, most claimants who receive disability benefits for an extended period of time can expect a Continuing Disability Review at some point in their lives.

What events can trigger a CDR?

It’s important to note, however, while CDR’s are routine part of the disability process, they can be triggered by certain events. For example, if you start back to work and make too much money or if you try to return to work through a Trial Work Period, you may trigger a CDR. Additionally, if you take part in vocational therapy or someone notifies the SSA that they believe you are not disabled, this could also trigger a CDR

What do I do if the SSA notifies me about a CDR?

Ignoring the SSA is kind of like ignoring the IRS. If they contact you and request information for a CDR, it is best to respond. Failure to respond could eventually result in the termination of your SSDI benefits.

To start the CDR process the SSA will generally send you Form SSA-455: Disability Update Form. This form provides a cursory review of your case which the SSA will review. After receiving the Disability Update Form they may decide a full medical review is not needed, and close the CDR.

In other cases you may be sent Form SSA-455: Disability Update Form but after a review the SSA decides they need more information and they will send you Form SSA-454 Report of Continuing Disability Review (this form could also be sent to you first if they know they need to complete a full disability review).

Regardless of the form sent, however, you need to complete it and make sure the SSA has all of the information they need.

CDR and a full medical review what does this mean?

Full continuing Disability Reviews are completed by a team at the Disability Determinations Office (DDS). The team consists of a doctor and a disability examiner. The information they will review is similar to what they reviewed for the initial disability decision. It can include all of your current medical data, including medical reports, medical tests, and medical treatments.

With this information they will review your overall health, including any conditions you have developed since your initial disability decision, but most importantly, they will determine how your health conditions affect your ability to work any relevant job in the past or retrain for new work.

Bottom Line:

A Continuing Disability Review is a normal part of the disability process, but you should take the request seriously because you could possible lose your benefits if the SSA decides you are no longer disabled.

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