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Processing a Continuing Disability Review

As outlined in a previous blog post, according to the Social Security Administration, Section 221(i) of the Social Security Act, as amended, requires Social Security Disability Insurance claimants to undergo a CDR or Continuing Disability Review at least every 3 years, except if they have a condition which is considered permanent. If the condition is permanent, Continuing Disability Reviews will be done at such times as the SSA Commissioner determines are appropriate.

Continuing Disability Reviews for claimants with a “low” probability for improvement



If the SSA determines the claimant has a low probability of improvement, they may, instead of performing a full CDR review, choose to mail Form SSA-455, which is a self-help mailer form designed to gather information from the claimant about their medical conditions and recent treatments they have received (within the last 2 years). The SSA will also request information about any attempts the claimant has made to return to work or to gain additional training or education.

Who can expect to receive this form?



The Form SSA-455 is sent to claimants who have a low probability of medical improvement as determined by statistical analysis done by the Social Security Administration. The form will request the following information from the disability claimant:

• Current age
• Impairment(s)
• Length of time in benefit status
• Basis (regulation-basis code and listing number, if applicable) for the initial determination
• Data on any prior CDR(s)
• Recent earnings

Depending on the information provided by the disability claimant, the SSA may refer certain claimants for a full Continuing Disability Review (CDR). The SSA claims this request is only done approximately 2.5% of the time.

More frequently, the SSA will, instead, request a deferral action which will postpone a full CDR. The date for a new medical reexamination can be set for up to 7 years, but if the date is not set, it will default to 3 years.

What questions are asked on the form SSA-455 hardcopy form for a CDR?


(Questions from POMS DI 28001.003)

• Within the last 2 years have you worked for someone or been self-employed?
• Check the block which best describes your health within the last 2 years (Better, Same or Worse).
• Within the last 2 years has your doctor told you that you can return to work?
• Within the last 2 years have you attended any school or work training programs(s)?
• Would you be interested in receiving rehabilitation or other services that could help you get back to work?
• Within the last 2 years have you been hospitalized or had surgery?
• Within the last 2 years have you gone to a doctor or clinic for your condition?

Some claimants may receive a newer version of the form. The form and its questions were modified after 1996, but the SSA notes that some of the older form SSA-455 may be used. Both versions are under review by private contractors; a single sequence of questions and matching hard paper and scannable mailer forms will be prepared following completion of this review.

Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer



Hopefully, if you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and the SSA has decided to complete a CDR, you have no need to worry. If you have received proper medical care, your condition has not dramatically improved and you have not returned to work, your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits will probably not be terminated.

If the SSA has completed the CDR and is threatening to terminate your SSDI benefits, you may need legal assistance from a Social Security Disability attorney. Contact a disability lawyer for more information.