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Continuing Eligibility and Termination of Benefits

In this article:
SSDI and Termination of Benefits | SSI and Termination of Benefits

Medical Improvements will stop ALL disability benefits

If you are receiving SSI or SSDI benefits and the Social Security Administration determines you are no longer disabled and you can work, disability benefits will be terminated.

Continuing disability reviews for disability recipients are generally scheduled by the SSA every 3 to 7 years, depending on the condition and the expectation for recovery. If your benefits have been terminated after a continuing disability review you have the right to challenge the termination. Talk to a disability lawyer for more information.

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SSDI and Termination of Benefits

If you are receiving Socials Security Disability Insurance your benefits can be stopped if you return to work for too long and earn too much money, if you are sent to prison, or if you reach your full retirement age.


Claimants who return to work and make too much money will be allowed a trial work period, which is a rolling nine month period of time in which they may "test" returning to full-time employment without jeopardizing their SSDI payments. After the trial work period there is an additional 36 months of extended eligibility. If you continue to work after the extended period of eligibility and your income is too high, your SSDI benefits will be terminated.

What about retirement? SSDI recipients will not receive both SSDI and retirement benefits. Claimants who are received SSDI at the time of their retirement will have their SSDI payments automatically converted to SSA retirement benefits.

SSDI and Prison

According to the SSA, "You can receive SSDI benefits until you have been convicted of a criminal offense and spent 30 days in jail or prison. This means that your SSDI payments will stop on the 31st day you are incarcerated after a conviction, no matter what day of the month you were arrested. For example, if you were convicted and went to jail or prison on March 3, your SSDI would stop on April 2."

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SSI and Termination of Benefits

SSI is a bit different than SSDI benefits. SSI will be terminated or reduced if the claimant is making too much income, if their spouse is making too much money, if they are receiving support which is over the limit (including non-cash food and shelter that is provided by someone else as income), or if their resources are too high.

SSI claimants may also have their benefits reduced if they return to work, and unlike the SSDI program, there is not any type of SSI trial work period. If you work your earnings will automatically reduce your SSI benefit.

SSI and child turning 18 years of age

SSI payments can also be terminated when a child reaches 18 years of age. For example, it is not unusual for a child to turn 18 and the SSA decides their condition is not so severe that they cannot work. If you turned 18 and lost your SSI benefits, you will have to have your condition reevaluated according to the adult SSI standards.

SSI and Prison

According to the SSA, you can receive SSI payments "until you have been in jail or prison for a full calendar month—from the first of the month through the last day. For example, if you went to jail or prison on March 2, your SSI would continue during March and all of April. April would be the first full calendar month you were incarcerated, so payments would not stop until May 1."

SSI claimants may also have their SSI benefits terminated if they are leaving the country for an extended period of time. If you are considering travelling, talk to the SSA for more information.