Everyone receiving Social Security disability or SSI disability payments will have their medical conditions reviewed periodically. Your payments can continue unless there is strong proof that your condition has improved medically and that you are able to return to work. These “Continuing Disability Reviews” are scary, no two ways about it. But they are certainly manageable. Contact your lawyer as soon as possible to be sure your benefits continue during the review. You have ten days to request this.
How often your medical case is reviewed depends on how severe it is, and the likelihood it will improve. Your award notice tells you when you can expect your first review, but often they do not take place on schedule. Some conditions – for example, recover from back surgery – are expected to improve. Some, like a degenerative neurological case, are not.
If your condition is expected to improve within a specific time, your first review will be six to 18 months after you started receiving benefits.
If improvement in your medical condition is possible, your case will be reviewed about every three years. If your medical condition is unlikely to improve, your case will be reviewed only about once every five to seven years.
What happens during a review? Your will first will receive a letter telling you that there is a review. Soon after that, someone from your local Social Security office will contact you to explain the review process and your appeal rights. The Social Security representative will ask you to provide information about your medical treatment and any work that you may have done. A team consisting of a disability examiner and a doctor will review your file and request your medical reports. You may be asked to have a special examination at the government’s expense.
All of this can be managed by quickly providing updated medial records and a letter from your doctor saying you have not improved. That is the only issue, and it is usually quickly resolved. The best case scenario is that you contact your lawyer, or in the alternative take the update records in to a Social security office to be sure you meet the ten-day time period for having your benefits continued.