You have won your Social Security Disability (SSD) case. You are receiving your benefit checks. You are working to maintain your health as much as possible. Then, out of the blue, sometimes years later, a notice arrives from the Social Security Administration (SSA) telling you that they are reviewing your case. What's going on?
Why Does SSD Review Benefit Recipients?
The SSA says that this process, known as Continuing Disability Review (CDR), is to see how you are doing. While this is true, they don't tell you the most important reason they conduct CDR's: To reduce the number of people receiving SSD benefits by proving that they are no longer disabled.
A Little History
How did this happen? Back in the 1980's, the government arbitrarily decided that it needed to cut at least 50 percent of Social Security Disability recipients. One of the ways they tried to do this was to create medical judgements based on flawed science. For example, the SSA adopted the approach that any schizophrenic released from the hospital was "cured" and thus ineligible for SSD benefits. It was clear even then that this mental illness was one of the most difficult to treat and that the likelihood of a cure was remote. Hospitals released patients not because they were better, but because there was nothing that could be done to help them.
This was only one of the problems associated with this method of reducing the number of SSD recipients. Some beneficiaries even committed suicide when they received the letters informing them that they would be cut off from their SSD benefits because they had been "cured" or were no longer disabled.
Although reforms were enacted because of these obvious problems with the effort to reduce beneficiaries, Social Security still assumes that many people receiving disability benefits do recover. The process is continues to be unnecessarily stressful and challenging for disabled recipients of SSD benefits.
What to Expect and What to Do
Almost all recipients will receive notice of a CDR sometime between five and seven years after winning their cases.
If you go through the CDR process and are notified that SSA intends to cut off your benefits, you need to act quickly in order to retain your right to appeal the decision. Immediately call the office that issued the letter and tell them that you disagree. This secures your right to an appeal. Then call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you keep your SSD benefits.
Source: Social Security Administration, "What is a Continuing Disability Review?" Feb. 20, 2013.