How Long Does Social Security Disability Review Take?

A notice that you must undergo a Social Security disability review may not necessarily mean that your SSD benefits are in jeopardy. Federal law requires that your claim periodically go through a continuing disability review process to determine whether the medically determinable impairment that allowed you to initially qualify for SSD benefits has not improved.

Still, knowing that you could lose the benefits you get through the Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance programs can be a cause for concern. The following information from London Eligibility about the process, including how long an SSD review takes, addresses some of the concerns that you may have about it.

What is an SSD review?

An approval of your application for SSI or SSDI benefits is based on a determination that you are blind or disabled. If your condition improves and you no longer meet the definition of disabled or blind to qualify for SSD, your benefits will be discontinued.

To determine whether you continue to be disabled or blind, federal law that Social Security periodically conducts what is referred to as a “continuing disability review.” The frequency of the review is determined whether your medical condition is expected to improve over time.

If you have a medically determinable mental or physical impairment that is expected to improve, you may anticipate having your case reviewed at least every three years. Conditions that are not expected to show improvement over time may come up for review every five to seven years.

Although a continuing disability review generally focuses on determining whether you continue to meet the medical requirements to be eligible for SSDI and SSI, it also looks at the non-medical requirements for each program. For example, as a beneficiary receiving SSI benefits, you must meet the income and resource limits for the program.

As a result, you may be asked during a review to provide information about sources and amounts of income and the value of resources that you own. You may also be asked to provide information about your living arrangements because where you live could lead to a reduction in SSI benefits. For instance, if you live with someone and pay less than fair market value for rent or food, the difference between what was paid and its fair market value may be used to reduce what you get from SSI.

Types of medical disability reviews

When it is time for a review of your claim, you will receive either a short or long form. The short-form or disability update report asks for answers to the following questions related to a specific reporting period:

1). Have you engaged in any type of work or self-employment?

2). Have you participated in work training programs or attended school?

3). Have you talked to a doctor about returning to work and, if so, has the doctor cleared you to return to work?

4). Do you feel better, worse or the same since the start of the reporting period?

5). Have you gone to a doctor or clinic for treatment or evaluation or taken medications and why?

6). Have you been hospitalized or had surgery?

Upon completion of the short form, you sign and return it according to the instructions that come with it.

If you have an impairment that is expected to improve, you may receive the long form, which is also called a continuing disability report. Don’t be alarmed if Social Security asks you to complete a continuing disability report even though you already completed the short form. Sometimes, the responses you give on a disability update report suggests to Social Security a need to have you complete a long-form report.

Do not ignore a notice from Social Security asking you to complete either of the two forms. Failing to comply will not make the request go away, and the end result of your refusal to comply will be termination of your benefits. Instead of ignoring it, contact a disability advocate at London Eligibility for assistance.

How long does an SSD review take?

Completion of an SSD review based on the information that you provide by completion of a short form generally takes a few months. It can take much longer to complete a long-form review given the fact that Social Security may request copies of your medical records once it goes over the information that you provide in the long form.

You can appeal an adverse outcome of a disability review

Social Security must notify you of the outcome of an SSD review. When you receive the notification, remember that an adverse outcome, such as a reduction or stoppage of SSI or SSDI benefits, may be appealed. Contact London Eligibility for a free consultation as soon as you receive the notice from Social Security. A disability advocate will explain your rights based on the results of the SSD review and get the appeal process started on your behalf.