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What do I need to know about a disability review?

For Houstonians who have been approved for Social Security disability benefits, there are still rules that are part of the process and must be fully understood and followed. One is that the Social Security Administration will conduct periodic reviews of claimants to determine if they still need to receive disability payments. This is not directed at any particular individual. It is simply one of the requirements when receiving benefits.

The SSA will send a letter to the claimant saying that there will be a review of whether they still have a qualifying disability or not. In general, if the person's health has not improved, the benefits will continue. The SSA will need new information about the medical issue. They will ask medical professionals for the claimant's medical records and about the limitations in the activities he or she can do. They will also ask what treatments are being provided. If more information is needed, there might be a special examination. The SSA will pay for this.

The SSA will examine the medical condition from the previous review and compare it to the latest review. If there are new health issues that have come about, they can be factored in. The decision will be made as to whether there has been sufficient improvement for the claimant to get back to work and no longer receive benefits. If there was a slight improvement, but not an improvement sufficient to get back to work, then the benefits will likely continue. Past work and how the condition affects the claimant's ability to do it will be considered.

If the medical condition has improved and the SSA determines that the claimant can return to work, the benefits will cease. They will also cease in the following circumstances: the claimant has derived benefit from vocational training or improved medical treatment; there was a mistake in continuing benefits in the past; the claimant is not adhering to the doctor's orders; false or misleading information was given; there is a lack of cooperation; or if the claimant is working and earning more than the substantial gainful amount. The claimant can file an appeal if the benefits are stopped.

This might be a worrisome issue for those who are receiving disability, but it does not necessarily mean the benefits are going to stop. Regardless of the situation, those who are receiving disability and are facing a review should understand their rights with help from a qualified lawyer experienced in helping clients with their SSD benefits.

Source: ssa.gov, "How We Decide if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability," accessed on March 16, 2017

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