For those who have gone through months and years of disability process, the recent of disability benefits is a welcome and deserved relief. And quite honestly, when you have worked so hard to get disability benefits, the last thing you are thinking about is going through a disability review. However, when that day comes, a lot of people have questions. Here are a few question frequently asked questions that I receive. I hope they help:
- Why am I going through a Review? My condition will last forever.
In today’s world of modern medical technology and innovation, scientists are discovering cures and treatments for all sorts of medical condition. In addition, depending on the treatment and how your body respond, some people actually experience an improvement on their condition. I understand that you may have a condition that will not ‘go away’ but the reality is you have an ongoing duty to prove you’re disabled. This duty doesn’t disappear because you were approved or if you believe your condition is one that will not improve.
- What should I do when SSA starts asking for paperwork?
You should approach your review as aggressively as you did your initial application. When SSA is reviewing your case to determine whether your medical condition has improved to the point where you can return to work, you must take all steps to demonstrate your medical condition is the same or worse than when you originally applied.
- Should I appeal if I’m found to be no longer disabled?
Only you can answer this question. If you believe you are still disabled, you have a right to appeal SSA’s determination that you are no longer disabled.
- Should I keep my disability benefits going during the disability process?
Again, this decision is a personal one. The reality is that most people who have been receiving disability benefits for a few years. These people rely heavily on the benefits. As a matter of fact, for some people, their survival is based on the monthly check. So, if you believe you need to continue the benefits, it’s up to you. Just remember if you lose, you may be responsible for reimbursing the government the monies you have received.
- When should I hire a representative?
It’s amazing the number of times I get a call when people FIRST start receiving paperwork about the review. It’s more of a personal preference. In theory, hiring a representative can help you present your case in such a way to keep your benefits. However, you may want to consider waiting until you’ve been determined to no longer be disabled.
- I want to hire a representative but I am having a hard time finding someone to take my case. Why am I having such a hard time?
Every representative is different in terms of why they will or will not take a case. Unfortunately, in some instances, they may not tell you why they will not take a case. The hard part MAY be due to your ability to pay. When you applied for disability benefits the first time, your representative was paid based on a contingency fee from your back pay. However, if you choose to keep your benefits going, there is no back pay which means you would have to pay an upfront retainer. As I said above, if your survival depends on your monthly benefits, you may not have the money to pay for an attorney.
- What are the chances that SSA will find I am no longer disabled?
Unfortunately, there is no way anyone can tell you what your chances are. There are too many unknowns. It depends on your medical records, what your doctor says, the reason you were initially found disabled. As I said above, just focus on being as aggressive in proving you are STILL disabled as you did when you applying the first time.
Again, these questions are some of the common questions relating to Cessation cases (Continuing Disability Review). Please let me know if you have others.
Most people spend a great deal of energy actually going through the disability application process. It is no wonder people breathe a sigh of relief when they get benefits. Unfortunately, this relief can often turn into ‘contentment’. The reality is most people don’t realize SSA doesn’t think a person will be on disability benefits forever. At some point in time, SSA will conduct a review of the person’s case to see if they are still disabled.
I know this can be frightening because, in reality, you really have no idea of when SSA will actually conduct this review. Instead of being frightened, try preparing for the possibility of review:
1) Keep getting treatment
I can’t even begin to stress how important maintaining treatment is to your case. It’s easy to get lazy and not go to treatment after you get your benefits but it’s important you do.
2) Pay attention to the things you do
Whether you believe it or not, your daily activities are still important even after you’ve received disability benefits.
3) If you received money from your back pay, you may want to set aside some funds for a representative
Most people have no problems finding a representative when they are applying for benefits. However, it’s hard to find someone while you’re receiving benefits. That’s because there is no back pay. So, most reps are going to require some money upfront to help you.
4) Brace for the possibility that your benefits may end
I know this is not pleasant to here but there may come a time when SSA decides you are no longer disabled. Be prepared for that time.
No one is prepared for the possibility of losing their disability benefits. Because, quite simply, receiving disability benefits is not part of the American Dream. The American Dream is pretty simple.
You grow up. You graduate from high school. You go to college, join the military, go trade school, or get a job. You get married. You raise kids. You make money. You retire. You ride into the sunset.
No one plans to be disabled. No one plans to not work. No one plans to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
When most people are forced to apply for benefits, they aggressively do what they can to obtain benefits. If you are one of the millions of people who are receiving disability benefits, you already how much of a life altering situation this way can be. Your household expenses, your insurance, your medications and your livelihood are based on the money you receive from the federal government.
The most traumatic part of the disability process is when your disability benefits come up for review. In other words, at some point, it is possible you may lose your disability benefits.
If you’re not sure if you’re going to lose your disability benefits, here are few things you need to consider:
1)Are you still in treatment?
During your review, the first thing SSA is going to do is to review your current medical records to see if you have medically improved to return to work. Make sure you you are still receiving medical treatment for your conditions.
2) Are you able to work?
The reality is you will get more money working than you will receiving disability benefits. If you are interested in testing the job market, SSA and other agencies have a lot of programs that can help you get back into the workforce.
3) You can appeal the denial if you believe you are disabled.
If you believe that you are still disabled, SSA will give you the opportunity to appeal your benefits being cut off.
4) Plan for life without disability benefits.
Start planning for the possibility that your disability benefits may come to any end. Think about school. Start looking at other opportunities. There are companies that can assist you with making those preparations.
For all of the information out there about what you need to do to get your benefits, it’s important you take time to research what you need to do to keep your benefits or, worse, prepare for the possibility of losing your benefits.
- I have been on disability since 1999 and worked all my trial work period in 2002-2004. My extended work period is also exhausted. I am 56 yr old . I want to try and work Pt job But if I go back I don’t want to totally be cut off. They say I can make up to $1010.00 ..I’m am I taking a chance If I try to work…I don’t think you addressed this Issue.
- If you are receiving disability benefits, you are always taking a chance of your benefits being affected if you try to work. The Trial work periods are designed to give people the opportunity to test the job market to see if they are able to work. However, the Government is responsible for ensuring individuals who are receiving disability benefits are unable to perform work. Even the ability to do part time work may demonstrate the ability to work. I strongly encourage people that they will earn more from working than receiving disability benefits. However, I typically tell people who are trying to work to be careful about trying to keep the earnings to a particular amount. Social Security may still think you’re able to work.
- I owe overpayment social security. I just go approved again. What happens with back pay and current benefits?
- Typically, what should happen is your back pay should be applied to your overpayment. If you still owe money after your back pay has been reduced, they will probably take a portion of your monthly benefits until your overpayment is paid off.
- i had a sjogren’s disease and fibromialagia and also degeneration in the lower back also parathyorid and thyorid problems I been approved for disability. on the approval letter they said that they will review my case in 3yrs. i been receiving disability for the past 15months. want to know the autoimmune diseases are mip or Mine or just improvement is expected. and if i have a review in the next year and a half how good my chances are to win it ?
- The Social Security Administration typically conducts Disability reviews to determine if a person is still disabled. Typically, they are looking to see if the person has improved, gotten worse or gotten better. At the time of the review, they compare your disability to the last time you were approved. Unfortunately, there is no way to know, in advance, what your chances of continuing your disability. It all depends on your medical records.
- Hi, your information is very helpful. My hearing was on 4/10/2012 and the judge told me that I will be declared disable. I just receive a paper from my lawyer stating that it can take between 2 to 4 months for the judge to declare me disable and another 4 to 6 months before receiving any money. They want me to reimburse them money for medical files before receiving my money. I was never told the date or amount of money I will receive as back pay. I am being told by other family members that have gone this, they knew at the time of hearing the amount of back pay and the date the disability started. My family members think my lawyers are lying to me, are they right? Please help, I am not sure who to believe.
- The Judge is only responsible for determining whether a person is either disabled or not disabled. Another section of Social Security is responsible for calculating the monthly benefits. There are ways to get a rough approximation of what you may receive. However, you rarely find out at the hearing what your back pay will be if you are approved.
- I have not received any back child support payments in over a year. The father lives in Colorado and is on SSI. Our case is in Texas… Is there different laws pertaining to why I may not receive child support payments at this time?
- Every state handles garnishment of Disability Benefits differently. In addition, SSI is a need based program so it is possible that these benefits may not be garnished. Contact SSA for assistance in child support.
- Can you explain the impairment listings?
- The third step of the Disability process is whether a person meets or equal the listing. The Social Security regulations have a List of almost every medical impairment with very detailed requirements for each condition. Each of these requirements have to be met in order to be found disabled under the Listings of Impairments. These requirements are usually very tough. They are designed this way because the idea is that if a person meets all of these criteria, they are presumed to be disabled.
- I know a business who’s using someone’s name to avoid paying taxes. He has 2 business in two different location but he registered it in both the same address but two different names. The other name is his mom’s who’s claiming disability. I am concern that if the government find out that she has a business under her name that they would stop her disability check. She is old and blind. How do I report this guy?
- All you have to do is contact the Local Social Security office and the IRS and let them know that you are concerned that someone is committing Social Security fraud and federal tax fraud and they will take it from there.
- What do I do when the Vocational Expert at my hearing says I can work?
- It’s important for you to understand that the Vocational Expert does not decide whether you can work or not work. That expert is there as a tool to assist the judge in determining what types of work can be done by persons under various hypothetical situations. The judge is the final decision and will weigh all of your medical evidence. The responses by the Vocational Expert is what the judge will use to determine which situations fits your medical evidence.
- Should someone seek legal help even if the injury is more short term?But,are not allowed to return back to work until injury is completely diminished?
- Social Security Disability benefits are intended for persons who have impairments that keep them out of work (or can be reasonably expected to keep them out of work) for 12 months or more. If your condition only keeps you out of work for less than period of time, you should contact a Disability attorney to see if you have any other options.
- If one was deemed disabled due to a severe depression/ptsd/anxiety disorder, then 1 year later, have a bad car accident that now has you taking pain medication daily and asthma worse, how do you inform Soc sec of this to “add?” It’s not like one wants to call and say “i need to add to my disability,” but feel it may be important.
- If you are receiving disability benefits, there is nothing to add. SSA will not increase or change the benefits based on some new disabling impairment. However, if your case is under review, THEN you want to make sure that SSA knows you have a knew disabling conditions. The most important thing to do is continue receiving treatment for your new condition.
- Hello again Mr. Reeves. I wanted to thank you again for putting Clark v Astrue in the spotlight as one of your discussions last year when I originally asked you. I wanted to let you know that the court in the Southern District of NY has ordered RELIEF to this class as of April 13, 2012. Can you please discuss this relief order so that many of the potential class members like myself can understand it a little more clearly. Thank you in Advance.
- The Order is not public record yet in West Law. Once it post, remind me and I will provide a response.
- I was told if I am denied Disability three times, then they have to give it to me the 4th time. Is that true?
- There is no regulation that requires Social Security to approve you based on the number of times you are denied. As long as you are eligible, the regulations permit you to apply for benefits. However, don’t think that just because you keep applying that you will eventually wear down Social Security and that they will give up and just give you Social Security benefits. You still have to qualify for benefits. If you don’t qualify, it doesn’t matter how many times you apply, appeal or get denied.
1) What if I can’t completely fill out the forms Social Security provides me, but do my best to complete?
2) When should I hire a lawyer?
3) I got a turn down letter on my second level of Ssdi. They said we know you have panic disorder and agoraphobia and you can’t go back to you job as a truck driver but you can work without being in crowded places or with the general public?? This makes no sense to me. What job could I do not working with people from my home?
4) Is life over once I must go back on SSI or Social Security Disability?
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- I was wondering say I am already on a continuing disability review, if I were to start the ticket to work program would I be fired from a job that they helped me receive if I were to be determined not disabled?
- Are there any rules that say we can’t have a po box because the mail is government stuff?
- SSA stopped my checks after 4 months stating i have a warrant for probation violation that is about 14 yrs old. I contacted the jurisdiction they stated we don’t have a warrant for you, and by the way, it was for DUI. I did the probation requirements. I am not a criminal, and this is my $ anyway how do i fit in Clark vs Astrue?
1) My question is, in the case of a condition that was approved for disability but is expected to get better in a short period of time(I am 22 years old)if i lose the weight within the next year am I obligated to tell ssa that my condition has improved or can I just wait till they review my case again, and I will just agree with their determination?
2) Since I am 100% service-connected, diagnosed as Bipolar 2 disorder and have chronic pain, what are my chances of getting ssd?
- Now my reply question is because I completed and received a 4.00 gpa, will the Judge say I can work a light stress job.
- Is there such a thing as ‘permanent disability’ under Social Security Administration?
- If someone worked only one month in a year and earned over $5000 in one month under the Trial Work Period is that considered SGA?
- Can I work after I retire on Social Security benefits?
- What are the levels of appeals when it comes to SSA?
- Why can’t I receive benefits further than a year before the date of the application in a DIB claim?
- When social security does the Continuing Disability Review I assume they will ask for updated medical records. Will they give my doctor the opportunity to say how treatments are going and how I am doing?
- Also, when you see Continuing Disability Review cases denied what normally are the reasons?
- Is it possible i will find out the day of my hearing if it’s in my favor?
- Would it be helpful if i have my 3 treating doctors write a letter to the Social Security Hearing judge?
- With my long history of job loss, meds, and seeing doctors, 4 to 5 times a month do you think my chances are good on winning my case?
- Can my onset date be from the 1980’s or 1990’s?
- My father has been hearing that they take away five months of your back pay. Is this true?
- How long will it take for him to receive his back pay?
- Will the back pay be in one big check?