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Social Security disability: Be prepared for your periodic review

Social Security disability (SSD) benefits can provide you with a lifeline as you focus on recovering your health as much as possible. The process of securing these benefits can be enormously challenging, with claims adjudication wait times ballooning and many claims being denied for lack of medical evidence. So, once you successfully obtain SSD benefits, you might feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. But the process isn’t over.

In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will periodically review your disability to see if you still qualify for benefits. When, exactly, that review occurs depends on the severity of your condition, so it may be every 18 months, three years, or seven years. Regardless of the frequency of review, the SAA will request to review your medical and employment records to determine how, if at all, your condition affects your ability to work and whether you’re earning too much to qualify for SSD benefits. If your medical records don’t provide enough information, the SSA may require you to submit to independent examination.

If, for any reason, the SSA determines that you no longer meet eligibility requirements, then your SSD benefits will be ceased. This can be a jarring stop to the financial raft you might find yourself floating on. It’s a scary situation, which is why you need to be fully prepared for your review hearings. You also need to know that you can appeal a cessation of your benefits, starting with requesting reconsideration and moving all the way up to federal court, if necessary.

These are delicate matters that require a strong understanding of the law if you hope to be successful. If you fail to adequately prepare before moving forward with a reevaluation or an appeal, then you may be setting yourself up for having you benefits taken from you. Don’t let that possibility scare you, though. Instead, seek out the assistance you need to aggressively defend what is rightfully yours.