After a claimant has been approved to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is normal to continue receiving these benefits for years to come. However, there are several reasons why SSD benefits could be legally terminated that may require the assistance of a disability attorney.
Improvement in Medical Condition
All SSD recipients are required to go through a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) every three to seven years depending upon the severity of his or her health condition. Upon receiving a notification by mail that a CDR is being done, the person receiving disability benefits is required to provide information about their current medical treatment and their daily activities.
The claims examiner will review the information submitted by the claimant and compare it to the information on record from the last date the claimant was found to be disabled. If the examiner finds that the claimant’s medical condition has improved enough to allow them to work, they will terminate their benefits.
Returning to Work
The decision to return to work is the most common reason for terminating SSD benefits. It may be possible to still receive benefits with certain exceptions. Social Security will need to determine if the claimant is engaged in what is called “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). In most cases, the individual would need to earn more than $1,090 per month. If there is evidence that the person is physically able to work more and is earning less on purpose, disability benefits could also be terminated.
A disability recipient may return to work on a “trial work period” (TWP) and continue receiving disability payments. If the person returns to work and earns more than $780 a month, Social Security will consider this the start of a TWP. For most people, they will be allowed to work up to nine months before their SSD benefits will cease.
Additional Reasons for Terminating Benefits
Upon reaching full retirement age, SSD benefits will end. Instead, the recipient will begin to collect Social Security retirement benefits. If a SSD recipient is convicted of a crime and sent to prison, their benefits will stop while they are incarcerated. In extreme cases, some felony convictions can lead to a complete termination of all future disability benefits.
Appealing a Termination of Disability Benefits
After receiving a termination of benefits, the claimant must file an appeal within 10 days to continue benefits with SSA Form 780; otherwise benefits will end in two months. Either the claimant or a disability attorney working on their behalf may file for this appeal and subsequent appeals during the process to restore SSD benefits.