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Social Security Administration Disability benefits cut-off

Many claimants are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and are surprised when they are terminated or cut-off. A common question on our blog is, “Why were my benefits terminated?” As with most questions, there is not one simple answer; the reasons can vary. This blog will identify the top reasons why you may have lost your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

If your Social Security Disability Insurance benefits were cut-off there can be several reasons, and they are listed below.

Although the Social Security Administration does allow claimants to attempt to return to work through their trial work period program, claimants who work too much or do not understand how much they are allowed to earn, may find that their Social Security Disability Insurance benefits have been terminated.

The trial work period allows claimants to attempt to return to work for at least 9 months in a rolling 60 month period (the months do not have to be consecutive). During the trial work period the SSA will give the claimant their full Social Security Disability Insurance payment as long as the claimant continues to have a disability and they report their earnings to the Social Security Administration.

In 2012, a trial work month is any month where the SSDI claimant earns over $720. If the claimant is self-employed and they earn over $720 (less expenses) or they work more than 80 hours this is also considered a trial work month. The trial work period will continue until the claimant has worked nine months within a 60 month period when this has occurred, the SSDI claimant’s benefits can be terminated.

Many claimants do not realize that getting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is just the first step; keeping it, that’s another matter. According to the Social Security Administration, Section 221(i) of the Social Security Act, as amended, “the Social Security Administration must perform a continuing disability review (CDR) for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants 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.”

Claimants who “have a low probability of improvement” may not have to undergo a full CDR review but instead will have a partial review done via a mailer form which simply gathers current medical information about the claimant’s condition and their recent medical treatment.

Occasionally the Social Security Administration will request a full Continuing Disability Review after they receive this form, although this is rare. More frequently, the Social Security Administration will 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.

If, after the Continuing Disability Review the Social Security Administration determines the claimant is no longer disabled and they can return to work, SSDI benefits can be cut-off.

Some claimants do not realize that when they reach full retirement age their SSDI are converted to Social Security retirement benefits. Occasionally claimants believe that they will receive SSDI simultaneously with their SSA retirement benefit, but unfortunately this is not the case.
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