Once you qualify for SSDI, do you stay qualified?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Insurance is a significant milestone for many individuals facing long-term disabilities. However, once you qualify for SSDI, it does not mean you will stay qualified for the rest of your life.

The Social Security Administration has strict guidelines and procedures to ensure that only those who continue to meet the criteria remain eligible.

Regular medical reviews

The SSA requires regular medical reviews to determine if you still qualify for SSDI benefits. The frequency of these reviews depends on the nature and severity of your disability. There are three categories for these reviews: Medical Improvement Expected, Medical Improvement Possible and Medical Improvement Not Expected.

  • MIE: If the SSA expects your condition to improve, your case will be reviewed every six to 18 months
  • MIP: If improvement is possible but not certain, the SSA will review your case every three years
  • MINE: If improvement is not expected, your case will be reviewed every five to seven years

These reviews help ensure that benefits go to those who genuinely need them.

Return to work and SSDI

Returning to work can affect your SSDI benefits. The SSA has programs to encourage recipients to try returning to work without immediately losing benefits. The Trial Work Period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months without losing your SSDI benefits. During this period, you can earn any amount of money.

After the TWP, the Extended Period of Eligibility begins, lasting for 36 months. During the EPE, you can still receive benefits for any month your earnings do not exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity limit. For 2024, the SGA limit is $1,550 per month for non-blind individuals and $2,590 for blind individuals.

Continuing Disability Reviews

Continuing Disability Reviews are another way the SSA ensures that only eligible individuals receive SSDI benefits. During a CDR, the SSA will assess your medical condition and ability to work. The SSA may require updated medical records, doctor’s evaluations and other relevant information. If the SSA determines that your condition has improved to the point where you can engage in substantial gainful activity, your SSDI benefits may stop.

Appeal process

If the SSA decides to terminate your SSDI benefits after a medical review or CDR, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process involves multiple steps, including reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge and further appeals to the Appeals Council and federal court, if necessary.

Qualifying for SSDI provides needed support for individuals with disabilities, but it requires ongoing compliance with SSA regulations and reviews. Understanding these processes helps ensure continued eligibility and benefits.

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