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Preparing for a Social Security Disability Benefits Review

According to the Social Security Administration, or SSA, individuals who are currently receiving disability benefits may be subject to a social security disability benefits review from time to time. These reviews are an attempt by SSA to determine if the recipient is still disabled and eligible for benefits. If the review process is not handled properly, payments may be suspended or terminated. To handle the review process correctly, it is always helpful to consult an advocate.

The evaluation by SSA is called a continuing disability review, or CDR. To begin the review process, SSA will mail the claimant a notice of redetermination. The letter explains that the SSA is seeking current medical information and any other evidence to support an ongoing disability. If you fail to supply the requested documentation within thirty days, your payments will be suspended. After payment suspension, you have up to twelve months to supply the requested documents. If the requested information is not supplied by the thirteenth month, the disability claim will be terminated permanently. If a CDR is appealed within the first thirty days, disability payments will continue pending the outcome of the appeal.

When a disabled child turns eighteen years old, the SSA will always have a review of continuing disability during the twelve months after their birthday. They call this an age-18 redetermination. The idea here is to figure out if there has been any medical improvement in the child before extending disability benefits into adulthood.

SSA calls the standard used in both age-18 redeterminations and continuing disability reviews the medical improvement review standard, or MIRS. Current medical information is added to the claimant’s file to update the current level of disability; whether it is the same, better, or worse. These reviews are they way SSA keeps the information on file current, and helps to filter out people who have recovered from collecting disability.

In Maryland, 75% of all disability applicants are denied when they first apply. That means that most people who are currently receiving disability have been through the application process and one or two appeals, or a hearing before an administrative law judge to receive their disability benefits. The continuing disability review is just as important as any of these steps. The services of a representative can be extremely valuable during the review process. Advocates know the timelines, documents, and processes involved in a successful disability review. Trying to navigate through the review process on your own can be confusing and expensive. Always consult a professional.

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