How Long Can I Keep My Disability Benefits?
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, could SSA discontinue your monthly checks? They could, but it would have to be because they have determined that your medical condition has improved and you are able to go back to work.
Your impairment and your ability to work are the two major criteria for eligibility of disability benefits. So, once you are approved, SSA will need to periodically check to see if anything has changed.
You will have to undergo two continuing disability reviews (CDRs); one on your disability, and one on your work status. How often these CDRs occur depends on your situation:
- Six to 18 months after your disability benefits began if your disability is likely to improve
- Every three years if your disability is expected to improve over time
- Once every five to seven years if you are unlikely to improve
You don’t have to do anything about scheduling a CDR. SSA will know when to contact you. Since the CDRs heavily rely on medical evidence, it would be wise for you to keep detailed, ongoing medical records.
If SSA decides that your disability has improved enough for you to go back to work, they will discontinue benefits three months after making the decision that you are no longer disabled. You can always appeal their decision if you disagree.
The one thing you must do is inform SSA if your condition improves, or if you have gone back to work. The work CDR reviews your earnings and, if you earn more than the current Substantial Gainful Allowance, you benefits will stop.
But, you never have to worry about losing benefits if your disability continues to prevent you from working. Your disability benefits are yours for as long as you need them.