Disability, Online Services

How Social Security Decides if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability

August 5, 2021 • By

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Last Updated: November 2, 2023

How Social Security Decides if You Still Have a Qualifying DisabilityThe law requires that we review the current medical condition of all people receiving disability benefits periodically to determine if they continue to have a qualifying disability. Generally, if your health hasn’t improved, or if your disability still keeps you from working, you’ll continue to receive benefits.

Disability reviews support the integrity of our Social Security programs

These continuing disability reviews help us ensure that only eligible people receive disability benefits. It supports the integrity of the Social Security system while delivering fair services to disabled workers and their dependents, including wounded warriors, chronically ill children and adults, and other people with disabilities.

To help us make our decision, we first gather new information about your medical condition. We’ll ask your doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources for your medical records. We’ll ask them how your medical condition limits your activities, what the medical tests show, and what medical treatments you have been given. If we need more information, we’ll ask and pay for you to get a special examination or test.

You can appeal Social Security’s decision on your case

If you disagree with a decision made on your claim, you can appeal it. This means you can ask us to review your case again. When you receive a letter telling you about our decision to stop benefits, the letter will also tell you how to appeal the decision.

You can learn more by reading, How We Decide if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability.

You can check the status of your disability appeal using your personal my Social Security account. Your personal account gives you access to many tools that can save you time while keeping your information secure.

Find out more about how we help you secure today and tomorrow on our website.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. RSM

    Applied last two years for this when I could barely pay for medical bills for my disability out of pocket and unable to find a job despite applying for well over a thousand over the last three years.

    Had an interview and they specifically said “you will receive a letter being ineligible for SSDI due to work requirement but we will check all the medical records you sent for qualifying disability and SSI approval.”

    6 months go buy and I call to appeal. They claim the rejection letter was for BOTH SSI and SSDI because of being above the asset threshold, despite specifically telling them my 401k was 90% unvested (as in my former employer owned it) and my ACTUAL total assets were below $2,000.

    Two people had no idea what that meant and the third one treated me like a drug addict, asking which iPhone I had so I could sell it. Then kept getting angrier when trying to explain why I am under their asset threshold and told me I can’t appeal unless I have less than $2,000 in total assets.

    No wonder why 10,000 people with disabilities die each year waiting for SSI benefits. Such a disgrace, it seems like this is an outcome that your organization sees as acceptable.

    • Juan C.

      You are 100% correct I am a victim of waiting I might die before I even receive my benefits

      • Johnny B.

        There’s a little town in Pennsylvania called Pottsville. People come from all over this state, from Pittsburgh 250 miles away, from Erie 300 miles, to apply for SSI and SSDI. There’s an agency there that helps you, MFH, that’s their initials. You tell them you are homeless and they pay 3 months of rent for you at different hotels. They help you with your claim. Why 3 months of rent? That’s when you get approved for your SSI or SSDI. I’m not making this up. This town has been flooded with homeless out of towners, known by their backpacks. They may have to be homeless for a few days until MFH pays for their rooms but it is worth it cause in 3 months they get a 3 month check. Check it out. Go to Pottsville, home of Yuengling Brewery. Drink for 3 months before, if you can, and for 3 months after, you will be able to now, if you decide to stay. Good luck. No, you don’t need luck. Just go there and get PAID in 3 months.

  2. Tushar

    Wow its a very good post. The information provided by you is really very good and helpful for me. Keep sharing good information.
    Interior Designer in Pune

  3. John a.

    I am on ssdi and medicare. I will have a review in the future and during the covid nightmare I have been diagnosed with parkinsons. do I wait for review or do I contact.. Thank You very much.

    • Melissa W.

      Hi John,

      What I would do … I would not contact them now. SS does a review every couple years, and when they do the review, on the form they ask for any problems that have happened in the past 2 years … so when your review comes, you can write it on the form then.


    Well being type2 diabetic is not the worst disability ever but requires constant check of daily health and limits ability to function rigorously. I hope there is respect for people bettering the condition although accepting that there is no cure . To all disabled let’s hope our current condition doesn’t cost us right to receive our benefits and limits ability to collect money and believe it or not obtain right to work that still allows for treatment of our conditions and still provides life for each and every disabled individual. Healthy daily life comes first not just SSI OR SSDI. WITH treatment for any ailment life is possible.

  5. Abela

    More troubling is they expect us to survive on Social Security benefits averaged upon our earnings of at least anywhere from 10 to 20 yrs ago whereas the cost of Living has increased close to 2000% more than our earnings of past. It’s a JOKE big business touting minimum wage increases to $15 per hour. I earned $15 an hour 30 yrs ago. Today’s COL requires $25- $35 per hour to afford decent housing, medical care, education. food and utilities.

    • MajJohn

      Benefits have been adjusted for the cost of living each year during the time you mention.

      • Lost

        Barely. $10 or whatever it is.
        SS doesn’t base the increase to the factual cost of living.
        Approximate cost of living needed is $25/hr to $45/hr. SSI has too many restrictions for people who are permanently disabled which doesn’t even cover rent, and therefore, we are poor. We didn’t ask to be disabled. Many of us have college degrees, and disabilities that prevent us from working to utilize that knowledge. It hurts our
        kids because we can’t help to pay college tuition, and worst of all, they can’t go to college because they have to work full-time and be a caregiver. This is not the life I pictured after dealing with Domestic Violence for over 15 years. It’s a domino effect that effects our kids life, and so very wrong. Especially single parents.
        I would like to know why I am not receiving SS money that I gave out of my paychecks prior to ten years.
        Why am I not receiving SSDI. Living with anxiety, stress, and the disabilities that make our lives miserable.

      • be

        And the cost of medicare always goes up more than the COL increase. Always. and a few years ago there was no increase at all – except in my insurance cost. Your response was a joke. I hope!

  6. Please l.

    So, I turned the age of 66.2 several months ago. My age of retirement. I am (should be!) officially retired but I can’t seem to get SSA to recognize this. I’ve called. They ask why it matters if I am still listed as disabled? My income and day doesn’t change. What? really? Why does it matter? I am part time self-employed.

    Eventually, she said she would fix it. She didn’t. She would elevate it to the next person who also didn’t fix it. On my SSA page it says my next disability check is next month. I am now 66.7. The oldest living person still on disability? What happens when I file my taxes next year? I will have one month this year when my one check, which covers several months work, will be over the SSDI limit. Will they reduce my income for that month? The only notice I got in the mail was I was no longer eligible for “ticket to work.” She said that was all I should expect to get. No retirement notice? Nothing? Is that true? Is that people’s experience when transferring from disability to retirement.

    I can’t get them to listen to me. I’ve gotten in trouble with SSA before when they lied to me about a trial work period. I ended up with a huge overpayment that nearly cost me my disability and I came close to being homeless because of their mistake. I don’t trust them to do right by me. HELP.


    • Dawn T.

      That scares me too. I’m on disability and I’m turning 62 this month. All I’ve seen is a text message saying it goes from disability to retirement at 62? Really, so what am I supposed to do? Nothing? I’m really worried!

      • MajJohn

        You’re automatically switched from the didability to the retirement role once you reach full retirement age. Your payment amount does not change.

        • Please l.

          Please read above. I have not been switched. You respond like we are children and don’t know what we are talking about. It’s a little bit maddening.

      • dawn P.

        disability isn,t at 62 it depends on when your birthday was. like mine is in 1959 i am 62 this year but i can,t fully retire untill 66.10. im on disability also thats what ssa told me

      • be

        retirement is not 62. 62 is when people who work can retire early. Why would a person on disability want to go on retirement early and reduce your income.

        HOWEVER, when you turn 65, regardless of your retirement age, is the only time you will be entitled to get medigap insurance. 3 months before and 3 months after your 65th bday. NOT your retirement age. You have one time in your life to get the best insurance you can ever have. (if you can afford the $100 month which was less than my monthly copayments and now I have None.)

        Do not miss your 65th bday and miss your only chance to get this insurance at a decent cost and you can’t be denied. if you wait, you will need to pass a physical and with any illness, you will be denied. It’s a supplement to medicare.

        Read about medigap supplemental insurance. It’s not the same as an advantage plan.

    • Melissa W.

      The retirement age depends on the year you were born.

      Here is an article from SSA that tells you about it:


  7. Danene m.


    • MajJohn

      They do periodic reviews of your condition when you work and even when you don’t. Don’t let it get you down. All clients need to be treated with dignity, sorry you were treated rudely.

    • Timothy C.

      Contact your Congressional person. You will talk to an staffer, but they do this all the time. Ask them to complete a Congressional Inquiry on your case. They usually can do the forms over the phone. Be patient . They are taking other calls . But do it live on the phone is at all possible. Gets into the system faster.

  8. Robert G.

    While the article is informative you must read past the total bullshit about keeping disability.

    Social security has destroyed more lives with really bad policy when it comes to disability.

    Social Security is a joke!

    • Danene M.

      I agree they are the rudest people

    • Sara H.

      I know people that are collecting SSD and are not in any way disabled. They brag about how easy it is to get and the reasons they got SSD lawyers to file their claims, they were tired of working, they had other things they wanted to do ( travel, work jobs for cash, tired of working), so the rest of us are paying for them to have a far great fun life of leisure then those working or retired. I just want to see these cheaters cut off. If you can travel, drive long distances, take an eight hour plus flight, surf, hang glider, play sports, etc; get a job and earn your vacation time like the rest of the honest taxpayers.

      • Kelly h.

        If you know these people are cheating then you should turn them in. I am disabled and was turned down the first time, then had to hire an attorney. I was put through extensive medical exams on top of them having my medical history of brain and spinal cord surgery. The whole process took 1 1/2 years to finalize.

      • Kajaffa B.

        You do know that people are paid according to their wages not yours?

        • Terri

          Exactly. I agree..

          We paid into social security while we worked. Social Security Disability is not “welfare'”. We earned it. And it’s based on our wages.

          People tend to think individuals on SSDI are on “welfare” recipients.

          So untrue!

          People need to get informed!

          Thanks for your reply.

          • Wendy P.

            Some have never worked through. That’s the bad ones making us look bad.

          • MajJohn

            SSDI is an earned right based upon your earnings. SSI is welfare for those with little or no work record.

          • dawn P.

            that is true, ssa determines the allotment according to quarters earned during any working period, some people make more than others based on job history and wages earned during that time.

      • Pat L.

        Some people are deaf, blind, have cancer, terminal illness that doesn’t affect how they walk or get around. Trust me social security denies most people the first time and you have to have a lot of evidence to get on social security.

      • Walt I.

        Sorry, Type 2 diabetics are not concidered disabled. It’s primarily a life style, over weight and eating dunk food as a norm. Change your habits and you’ll find a way to support yourself.

        • Melissa W.

          Actually Type 2 Diabetes is considered a disability …

          You’re right that it can be managed by diet, weight loss, etc, but it is still considered a disability.

          Google, “is type 2 diabetes a disability” and a lot of information comes about it and why.

        • Tammy S.

          Please be careful about your words. Not all diabetics are fat and eat junk food. I am at my correct weight and BMI. I am a type 2 diabetic. It is debilitating. It’s not the reason I’m on SSI. But it is a disability.

          Some people are cruel when they judge. God is the only judge. Believe me when I say those cheating the system will be dealt with.

          What gets me a little perturbed is when someone has been on SSDI or SS for years. Then someone they know gets approved and they start getting what I’m getting now! I do that that’s unfair. I had a great job and paid in a lot of SS. But how does one start out getting what I’m receiving? 🤨

          • Papa D.

            Hello Tammy S. When a person qualifies for SSDI, their monthly benefit (as well as their “back pay”) is based on their work history and income. So someone who was earning $60,000 annually will get a higher SSDI benefit than someone who was earning $40,000 annually. I hope you can see how this is actually fair. I wish you well.

    • Wendy P.

      I agree. All the “Red”states sucking up all the “disability” because of generational disability claims.

      • Papa D.

        Hello Wendy Puska. If by “Red states” you mean states whose voters tend to vote Republican, I think it would be interesting to read the news article from which you received this type of information. I’ll come back to this blog later this week to read what you posted. If you can include the link to a particular web page, that would be helpful. Thank you! 😊

    • be

      it beats homelessness when you are disabled. Just saying.

      are there problems? yes. let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater. it’s better than medicare4all will ever be.

      We need a way for all people to afford good medical care. Nobody has come up with a decent plan yet.

  9. Chadwick H.

    If I receive disability payments can I get additional income. How much can I receive a month of additional income

    • Danene M.

      They thunk we can live on what they pay us its a f******joke who can live on what they give us. And if you work then you healed uts a F****** JOKE

      • Mike C.

        Thunk, you healed uts, I do the brat, I thought they needed a sharp pencil shoved somewhere.

        I wish I was in charge of your review.

        “I won because of the poorly educated, I love the poorly educated.” Trump’s second greatest quote ever, first is grab em by the pussy.

    • Dawn T.

      My question also? Never get any answer?

    • MajJohn

      It depends upon whether or not you get SSI or SSDI. Once that’s answered it still depends. If you are on SSDI there are trial work periods which are not income tested. If you are on SSI your benefit is adjusted by one dollar for every two dollars you earn less the $65.00 general disregard.

    • Crazyknarf

      Depending on which benefits you receive.

      SSI is very limited on how much you earn and have in all bank accounts.

      SSDI is based on your work history.
      But if you want to work there is

      “While a disabled (nonblind) person applying for or receiving SSDI cannot earn more than $1,310 per month..”

      Also depending on which job you get.
      If it is a Mental disability and your working a cash register, then Social Security would state you are not disabled. And you would have to pay every penny Social Security gave you.

      SSI Limits you to $2000 in total of total of all your bank accounts.

      There is a 90 day trail period. Where you can make as much as you can.
      Can be conservative or non conservative 90 days.

  10. Michael P.

    It’s too bad that when you turn 66 Social Security puts you in retirement status and you loose you disability status! Because of this I lost financial benefits from Electrical bills and others. I grew older, I hurt more and they take away my benefits because Social Security put me in a retirement status. WRONG!!!

    • Cynthia P.

      The same thing happened to me. I am still disabled with the same things that put me there in 2010. As soon as I turn 65 I just turned into a senior on social security and lost my benefits that help me survive on social security. I don’t understand how they can do
      Cynthia Parker

      • Dawn T.

        And I’m being told that mine changes at 62 ?

        • Marciej

          Are there any services available to assist during the appeal processes? I’m currently receiving ssdi. I’m having a difficult time obtaining attorney representation because I’m already getting benefits. Please advise

          • Papa D.

            Hello Marciej. I am not understanding your situation. You stated you want to know about the appeals process, and yet you are collecting SSDI benefits. Maybe today is one of my off days when I am just too dense, but why would you be appealing if you are already getting benefits? Or are you now going through the “every 2 or 3 year review” process for those who are current SSDI beneficiaries, and are appealing the SSA’s adverse ruling?

    • Danene M.

      I am sorry to hear of your troubles soon we won’t have much to live for we are destroying the planet and our elders our elders who built the ground we walk on…how dare they do this to you or anyone

    • Ann

      Are those benefits not based on your income level and not disability status?

      • Terri

        I think they are based on your income level because I’m on social security disability and do not receive any other assistance. I am 56 and because I saved my $, invested it, and am frugal, I do not receive any additional assistance. I can’t get SSI – state aid because I have too many assets.
        I’m surviving and am grateful I at least am receiving my SSDI check monthly. Just have to have a budget 😊

    • MajJohn

      No, you lost benefits provided by the utility company. Social Security had nothing to do with it. Your beef is elsewhere.

      • Melissa W.

        So when I hit retirement age, will I lose the disability discounts from the electric company?

Comments are closed.