If you are receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your medical condition periodically to determine whether you still need those benefits. How frequently this occurs depends on the disability for which you receive benefits. If your disability is expected to become less severe, the first review will take place from six to 18 months after you became disabled. Otherwise, your case will be reviewed every three years if some improvement is expected, or every seven years if you are believed to be permanently disabled.
During the review, you will provide documentation about your medical treatment during the period since your last review or decision. This means doctors' names and contact information, and hospitalization information. If you worked at any time during the time you were receiving disability benefits, you will need to provide employment information, including documentation of your income from employment.
After reviewing the information you provided, the Disability Determination Services office in your state will issue a decision about whether you should continue to receive benefits. If you disagree with the decision, you have the right to appeal. There are four levels of appeal. Having an advocate from a firm such as Binder & Binder ® can help you get through the appeal process.
The stages of appeal are:
Reconsideration: The reconsideration process involves a review by a panel that had no involvement in the original decision.
Hearing: You can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Appeals Council: If you wish to contest the ALJ's decision, you may ask the Appeals Council to review the previous determination.
Federal court: You have the right to bring a civil action in federal court if you disagree with the Appeals Council or if it declines to hear your case.
Source: Social Security Online, "What You Need To Know: Reviewing Your Disability," Jan. 2005.