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SSA disabiltiy benefits - will I lose them if my condition stabalizes?

Recently on our forum we had a claimant who was concerned about whether or not their Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits would be terminated now that their condition was stable. The catch was that they had a mental disability and their condition was stable because they had received the proper medical care and were currently taking the proper medication. This blog will address some real concerns you may have as a claimant about the continuity of medical care and SSDI benefits.

When do you lose your SSDI benefits?

There are a variety of reasons you could have your SSDI benefits terminated or discontinued: the SSA no longer considers you disabled, you have reached your full retirement age or you return to substantial gainful employment for an extended period of time.

If you are getting Social Security Disability insurance benefits for a mental or physical health condition given the advancement in medical technologies and treatments it is possible that at some point in time you may recover from your condition to such as extent that the SSA discontinues your benefits, claiming you are able to return to full-time employment.

What do I do if my Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are terminated?

The SSA generally reviews a claimant’s case every 3 years. There are exceptions for cases that are considered permanent.  If the SSA has scheduled a continuing disability review (CDR) for you they are attempting to “determine whether or not you continue to meet the disability requirement of the law.” If they determine that you are able to return to work they will terminate your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

The good news is that you do have some legal rights during the CDR process. For instance, you can submit information to contradict their claims, you must be notified that a review will occur and you may seek legal assistance to appeal the termination.

The bad news is if you have a mental or physical condition which has substantially improved there is a very real chance that your SSDI benefits could be terminated.

What are my options if my condition has stabilized?

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for disability applicants, especially those with a severe mental disorder, to improve after they get proper treatment. If you benefits are terminated and you no longer have medical care it is likely you could cycle back through what the SSA terms as an “episode of decompensation” where you experience a “temporary increase in symptoms or signs accompanied by a loss of adaptive functioning, as manifested by difficulties in performing activities of daily living, maintaining social relationships, or maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace.”

What would I do? If I knew that I had a continuing disability review scheduled and I felt that my conditions were stable and the SSA may assume I could return to gainful employment I might choose to get ahead of the problem.

The SSA has several great programs that allow claimants to attempt to return to the workforce while continuing to receive medical care and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for a defined period of time. If you did attempt to return to work through a trial work period you could test your ability to work, potentially finding a job that also provides medical benefits and a salary which might allow you to continue the treatment which is obviously helping you now.
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