Disability, General, Online Services

How We Review Your Disability Benefits

April 14, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: April 14, 2016

Picture of a man on crutchesWhen you receive disability benefits, Social Security will periodically conduct a review of your condition to make sure you still qualify for blind or disability benefits. With the right information, you can be prepared when this happens.

When your case comes up for review, we’ll send you a letter asking you to come to your local Social Security office. We’ll ask you about how your medical condition affects you and whether it’s improved. We’ll also ask you to bring information about your medical treatment and any work you have performed since Social Security decided you were disabled.

A disability examiner from your state’s Disability Determination Services will request reports from your medical providers, and will carefully review all the information in your case. If the medical evidence is not complete or current, we may ask you to have a medical exam at no cost to you.

Social Security conducts a disability review of your case approximately every three years depending on the nature and severity of your medical condition and whether it’s expected to improve. If we don’t expect improvement, we’ll review your case every seven years.

When we conduct a disability review, if we find that your medical condition hasn’t improved and is still preventing you from working, you’ll continue to receive benefits. Your benefits only stop if the evidence shows your medical condition has improved and you are able to work regularly.

If you disagree with our decision, you can appeal and ask us to look at your case again. When we notify you of our decision, we will explain how you can appeal that decision.

You can visit us online for more information, or read our publication What You Need to Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits.


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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. Sarah L.

    I’m wonder do person with cronical untreatable desease like HS – HIDRADENITIS SUPPURATIVA at advanced third stage with addition Diabetis, Thyroid,High blood pressure ,Depresion , worryingly low immune system for the sake of 19 years treatment with successive two kind antibiotics .spent a couple years in the war in Europe and raped, physically and psychologically humiliated by the opposing party.That tradition of violency would later comtinue by ex-husband . He was alcoholic & abuser ( psychologically, physically and emotionally ). Please answer me Do you think with HS and all other stuff I’m able to function normal and get back to work.Thank you very much.

  2. Chrissy

    They are cutting me off after 15 years! I am appealing. However, I feel alone and helpless. IDK what to do! Wish they could walk a mile in my shoes.

  3. Ronald B.

    I have been on disability receiving it now for 3 yrs now I have had problem being accepted for Social Security benefits applied myself and was never denied I was a Diesel mechanic one day on the job I was working with a air tool cutting wheel which Exploded in my face taking my eye out I thank GOD and Sociality Security Administration for not Denying me Now will I get more money when I apply in two yrs.when I apply for my Retirement can some one Please let me know about this matter Thank You

    • John O.

      No, you’re receiving now what you would have received at full retirement age.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Ronald. For those individuals receiving disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we automatically convert their disability benefits to retirement benefits when they attain their Full Retirement Age. Generally, the benefit amount remains the same.

  4. CJR

    Disabilty reviews are a joke. If you work because you prefer not to live in a cardboard box and get food stamps, buy medicine, etc., they disqualify you. All the while, you work while on major pain meds just to get thru the day and continue to deteriorate health wise because you are forced to work. Isn’t it amazing that felons are eligible for disability? I’ve worked since I was 13 continuously and at the age of 58, disqualified because I have to work to keep from being homeless. Social security disability is such a scam! They are hoping you kill yourself by working until you can’t move or function and then you won’t be eligible to draw retirement.

    • Lisa

      Exactly hoping you’ll kill yourself first. I’ve been fighting cancer and have been denied 3 times – 2/12 years later. I’ve lost my career, my home and now live in a RV dry camping in the middle of the desert. Afraid I’m going to dye from the heat this summer but it’s no ones problem but mine says the Government. I say we all camp on the steps of these Disability Offices so thru can see our faces every day when they go plop there lazy assess in there chairs and get paid to deny us.

    • Veronika

      Social Security is about work. The rules and regulations are under Employment Benefits (insurance) based on your Total inability to work anywhere in the national economy at any job 20 hours or more a week. The are not Disability laws to guarantee you Benefits.

  5. Antonio G.

    What is the criteria for a 100% disabled veteran for applying for SSDI? Please cite the procedure, And how long will it take to get it approved or disapproved Thank you.

  6. s p.

    I am on disability due to cancer, I live in Illinois and was told that I could be eligible for my retirement early even though I’m not 62, because of it being a permanent disability the cancer has now spread to other parts of my body so is this possible? I’m also a victim of identity identity theft, and a friend of mine was a victim as well and they were collecting her benefits. It scares me, I worked hard

    • Ray F.

      When you receive disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, when you attain your full retirement age. The benefit amount will generally remain the same.
      Victims of identity theft should go to http://www.idtheft.gov and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). Thanks.

  7. Gregory l.

    is my disability case up for review since my heart attack

  8. Robert S.

    What if my son receives disability and if a minor child in school?
    How do I do the review?

    • Lorri

      You can do the review on his behalf. Since he is a minor child, the responsibility is actually on you to do answer their questions. If you can’t go into their office then they can call you and conduct the interview by telephone. They should be pretty flexible.

  9. Carolyn P.

    I applied almost 12 years ago and was denied. I decided to get an attorney which took about another year for my hearing date. I had to cancel due to the pain I have. I cannot make plans of any kind due to my injuries and most days i don’t get out of bed. I’m getting WorkersComp due to the injury occurred while working. But, not only do I barely get enough to live on, I went through a divorce bc my ex just couldn’t handle having a wife that was full of life and energy to a person who suffers with pain. So, Workers Comp lowered my pay rate to 66%!! I don’t get alimony even though we were married 30 years!! Bc before the divorce was final he had heart surgery and a pacemaker put in. Hello??? No one has my back, I’m struggling to pay maintenance fees, taxes& food! Soon enough I will loose my Condo due to my funds ran dry. Is there anything I can do for help? I worked most of my life and now at 54 yrs old I’m afraid of being tossed out on the streets. I also had a neck surgery Anterior Cervical Fusion that failed. Seems like no matter what I do it only gets worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Lorri

      Where is your claim in the process now? When was the last time that you worked and paid into SSA and have they explained how the WC benefits that you are getting now will reduce your SSA disability and/or SSI benefits?

    • John O.

      Lori’s advice is good but you also need to ask if you ever get social security will it reduce or eliminate your workman’s comp. You may be fretting over nothing

  10. Michele

    I am waiting for the second time to get disability the first time I had a lawyer and I was told by the judge that there was a job for me 300 miles away. I have been living out of my car for over 7years and stay sometimes with strangers. I have been dealing with ptsd and acute panic attacks for over 7years and lost everything I worked my life for. I have been to so many hospitals and Dr.s and say it is just my anxiety medication and pain is constantly daily. But since I have to wait till the Dr.s and your psychologist to go over the top hospitals in the United States and say that there is nothing wrong with me and no hope or help with my fears panic attacks no money to pay for all the blood work my Dr wants to run on me. I find it hard to breath and find a reason why I should not just drive car off the bridge. I don’t want to die but GOD knows that I am definitely not living and I am lost inside my head and no hope for something good to happen no one will hire me any more due to the medication for anxiety medication and I get lost in a simple conversation. I don’t know what to do anymore because I have broken all relationships with family friends and aquantences and realize that I am alone. I get the whole 6-8 weeks for a response and to be honest I don’t know if I can make it through this pain and suffering anymore. I know people who have not even been through a third of my life and get help from disability and at least get a medical card that would be a great help with paying for the medication I have to take daily. I know that I probably made a mistake by working all my life and getting a career because the only people who are getting help are the ones who have not been down the road I have been down my ex husband is a great example of the abuse and beatings and huge reason for my life. I don’t know what to do anymore because I have never felt so lost inside my head and alone. I guess life does not matter to the people who are supposed to help people like me.

    • Lorri

      I am so sorry that you are having to go through all of this. I do have a question…are you getting treatment such as counseling and medications from a mental health professional/facility or are you just seeing a regular MD and getting anxiety medication from them. Sometimes that makes a huge difference in how your medical problems are evaluated. I can certainly understand your depression and anxiety and it sounds as though there might be another diagnosis of PTSD because of the abuse and beatings that you suffered from your husband. I am very sorry you are going through all of this.

    • Lisa

      I feel your pain sister. I have cancer and can’t get disability either been trying for over 2 years. I have lost my 20 year career, home, friends as well. I’m living in the desert dry camping in a RV praying for answers – wondering if I’m going to die from the heat this summer. Everyone says it gets to 130 degrees. Don’t think I’m going to survive it. Wondering what the next step is before I croak. Lost and scared.

    • QueenAmitiel

      Michele, contact the Arc of Washington D.C. Apply for welfare. You were given Life for a reason. Perhaps you are stronger than you know with the near future vocation of helpers other just like you. How else would you know how to fix what is wrong if you don’t go through it. I am the Queen of What Is Wrong, from Conception. I am 52 and I will always be a Child, just now, in an Adult Form. At least I finally know Why! Do NOT Give Up! It is Worse. Trust me there too, because I Know ♡☆♡

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