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How Long Can You Collect Social Security Disability?

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How Long Can You Collect Social Security Disability?

You may be able to avoid serious financial hardship caused by being unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. Social Security disability benefits may be available, but you must initiate the process to obtain them by filing an application. Working with a professional disability advocate helps to ensure that your application complies with the many rules and regulations governing eligibility.


The monthly payment of benefits starts after your application has been reviewed and approved. “How long can you collect Social Security disability?” is a common question most people ask once they receive notification that their application has finally been approved.


The simple answer to the question is that payment of Social Security disability benefits generally continues for as long as your medical condition continues to prevent you from returning to work. Of course, as with most questions about Social Security disability, general rules usually have exceptions. Understanding how long you may receive SSD benefits requires a closer look at the situations that may affect the duration of the payments.


Reaching Retirement Age


When you reach the age at which you become eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits, the SSD payments convert to retirement income. The amount of disability benefits you receive will not be affected by the conversion. If you qualified for Supplemental Security Income payments in addition to Social Security Disability Insurance, only the SSDI payments convert to retirement benefits.


Improvement of the Disabling Medical Condition


Qualifying for Social Security disability depends upon the existence of a medical condition that causes you to be disabled and unable to work. Payment of benefits will cease in the event the medical condition improves to the point that you no longer meet the Social Security definition of being “disabled.”


Social Security periodically reviews your case to verify that you continue to be disabled and eligible to receive benefits. The frequency of the reviews depends upon the severity of your medical condition. If the condition is expected to improve, Social Security may review it within six to 18 months from when you first began receiving disability payments.


If you have medical conditions for which improvement may be possible though not expected to happen within a specific period, a review of your case by SSA may take place at three-year intervals. Medical conditions that are not expected to improve will likely not be scheduled for a review sooner than every five to seven years.


Regardless of the frequency of reviews by the SSA, you must voluntarily report any change in your condition that affects your ability to return to work. If your medical condition improves, you cannot wait until the SSA schedules a review of your case. You must report the change in your condition as soon as you become aware of it.


Working While Collecting SSD Benefits


If you work while receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments, it may affect your eligibility for benefits. Engaging in what the Social Security Administration refers to as “substantial gainful activity” could result in the suspension of the SSD payments depending upon how much money you earn.


The amount you may earn from working changes each year, but it is currently $2,190 a month for someone who is blind and $1,310 a month for individuals with other types of medical conditions. If you earn more, you would be considered as engaging in substantial gainful activity that would affect your eligibility for SSD.


Payments Received from Other Sources


You must notify the SSA if you apply for or receive other forms of disability payments. For example, benefits from workers’ compensation for work-related injuries or illnesses may reduce or suspend Social Security disability benefits that you receive.


Eligibility for Payments Affected by Criminal Conduct


You may not collect Social Security disability payments while there is a warrant outstanding for your arrest for engaging in one or more of the following criminal offenses:


1). Escape from lawful custody.
2). Flight-escape.
3). Flight to avoid prosecution on a criminal offense or to avoid incarceration.


A criminal conviction may also affect your entitlement to receive disability payments. SSDI payments cannot be paid to anyone confined to a jail, prison, or mental health institution because of the commission of a criminal offense.


Someone sentenced to probation or who is released from prison on parole may receive disability payments. However, a violation of the conditions of probation or parole suspends the right of the individual to receive payments.


Getting Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim


Complying with the complex rules, regulations, and procedures governing Social Security disability benefits can be challenging for the average person. Working with the knowledgeable and experienced disability advocates at London Disability gives you peace of mind knowing that your claim for benefits is in good hands. Whether you have questions about the application process, the duration of SSD benefits, or other concerns about disability benefits, the professionals at London Disability are here for you.