Disability, General, Online Services

How We Review Your Disability Benefits

April 14, 2016 • By

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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Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications

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  1. Carole O'Connor

    I pray that the ones that truly deserve disability get a competent reviewer. In my case, I was on long term, never reviewed mainly because I was in and out of hospital. My sole purpose and goal was to return to work. I promised myself 1 yr hospital free, I would find employment. I notified SS in person, by phone and certified letter. Benefits still continued until I could not work again then they stopped. I lost my work disability first month I worked. I was required to meet with SS on an ongoing basis to resolve. The meetings did not upset me because I had reported 3 ways. To make a long story short, i had to go before their review psychiatrist. The questions he asked had nothing to do with my disability. I was asked questions like what is 1 plus 1
    He was making me feel stupid 1st grade questions nothing about disability
    Luckily my husband took me. The Dr said he was done and didnt need to meet with husband. However, husband could tell I was upset and said he wanted to talk to him. The Dr knew nothing about my condition or me. To this day Im not sure what my husband told him except what was done to me and the battles I struggled on a daily basis. If it wasnt for my husband, I am positive they would have never continued.. please make sure people are treated with respect and the Dr actually cares. Not all are out to scam. It embarassed me so bad I never told anyone I was on disabity and cut most of my friends out of my life. Respect, Compassion and some idea of his or her situation should be a requirement by Dr. I truly wanted to say, I never said I was stupid but I left with no remark. I pray our system is better and maybe it should be someone who has gone thru crap instead of a silver spoon. I am at retirement age and my ss is below poverty level. I would have given anything to have the job I once loved.

  2. Paul Glasbrenner

    Dear Sirs, I am a 100% Disabled Veteran, I Have Bipolar Disorder 1 I also Suffer PTSD and DID I have Diabetes Spina Bifida Bad Disks degenerating I Also Worked For the US Postal Service.
    I am medically Retired or soon to be Fully Retired. I Tried Twice Since 1990 when I got force into medically
    Retiring due to my Service Connected Disability. I was turned down by the SSDI twice. The first Time. I was one quarter short of disability. As You Know as time goes on you loose quarters. Needless to say. I feel like I was given a raw deal! I qualified Medical for the disability From what i been told. the only way I will Ever get Social Security Is When My Exe-Wife Retires is this true? Is There Any way For Me to get any Benefits At all? Please contact me at my Email address Below. I served My Country With Honor. I am A Proud Person. But Things are getting tighter and tighter. I just need to know if there is any hope for Me to collect. And If I do How Much will that take from my VA Pension? Thank you So Much For your Time. Paul Glasbrenner

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Paul. First, thank you for your service to our country. To be eligible for divorced spouse benefits, you had to be married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, and you cannot be eligible for a higher benefit on your own record. For more information on how to qualify for divorced spouse benefits, visit our Benefits Planner: If You Are Divorced. Also, keep in mind, if you are eligible for a pension based on work that is not covered by Social Security (for example, Federal civil service and some State or local government agencies), the amount of your potential divorced spouse’s may be reduced. Your Social Security benefits can be reduced based on the Government Pension Offset. If you have additional specific questions, please call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  3. Molly Gonzales

    how do i get a copy of my last Form SSA-455-OCR-SM Disability Update Report for 2019. thanks

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Molly. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  4. Lisa Wilson

    I am lost on a review of my disability case.I only been on it for 9 months and I was sent a letter from ss office address to me for another person and had their name ss# phone # address and then a letter to me saying my ck was suspension for review letter and package and I called them and they said to take letter that was not with my information on it and take to local office for them to shread I did still I was told they needed me fill same packet I did 9 months ago and I did most till health problems I put nothing had changed some had worsened my depression my blindness my cancer on my legs are back stress brings more out no changes. I am just not understanding why I am getting reviewed supposed to be every 3 years and mine is only 9 months I’ve been receiving my disability so I’m confused about it and when will I get it bk ty

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Lisa. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. If you still need assistance, please call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  5. Dana b Smith

    How much money,can I make over my disability amount?

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Dana. Thanks for your question. If you are referring to Social Security disability benefits, special rules allow you to work temporarily without losing your monthly Social Security disability benefits. After your nine-month trial work period, we still provide a safety net that allows you to work another three years risk free. During those three years, you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings do not exceed a certain limit. For 2020 those limits are: $2,110 for blind individuals; or $1,260 a month if you are not blind. For more information on working while receiving Social Security disability benefits, click here. We hope this helps.

  6. Kim S Barrow

    I went on SSDI in 2008. It wasn’t until recently while filling out my Medical Recertification documents I notice I get my monthly income from Social Security. I’m 64 yrs old. I did not get written notice nor any type of correspondence from SSA that they were removing me from SSDI & essentially retiring me. I DO NOT WANT to retire until I’m 66yrs old for maximum benefits. Do I need to hire a Disability Attorney? Sincerely Yours, Kim

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Kim. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  7. Robert Livingston

    I have macular degeneration in both eyes. The left eye is Wet and the right eye is Dry. I am receiving treatments for the left eye, but improvement is unknown. My doctor is at California Eye Specialists (909) 327-3118

    I also am on Oxygen 24/7 with COPD. My Doctor is Ali Mojavrian Pacific Pulmonary Medical Group
    Yelp (13) · Health & Medical, Pulmonologist
    4234 Riverwalk Pkwy, Riverside · (951) 781-3672

    Dr. Couture is my Main Doctor at (951) 682-9911
    My D.O.B. is 3-28-1944

    I believe there is a need for a re-evaluation of my Social Security income.

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Robert. We are sorry to hear about condition. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. Just a reminder – please be cautious about posting personal information on social media. We hope this helps.

  8. Misty

    I have been on social security since 2009. I’ve already been through a review and was approved again. However, i had another review in 2017, was denied, i filed an appeal and ever since then its been a mess. The SSoffice sent ALL my paperwork to the wrong address. Doing such cause me to miss the appeal hearing in Oct.2018. I filed another appeal based on their error, it was accepted. But again, SSOffice sent all the paperwork to the wrong address again for a hearing in June 2019! I spoke to the SSoffice and they admitted they screwed up. They cancelled my benefits and insurance without notifying me on Oct. 1st 2019! I filed yet another appeal and continue benefits form on Oct. 30th 2019. My local SSoffice lost that paperwork and i had to go in AGAIN to file them again on Nov. 14th 2019. I’m going on 2 months without benefits and insurance. I’m facing eviction and no medication. I call the main SS number and my local office and I’m told they have 30 days. Well, its been 43 and still nothing. What can I do? Doesn’t SS realize SS recipients have rent and medical bills too? All of this was not my fault! I did what was asked of me and SSoffice was the one to drop the ball not once, twice, three, but FOUR TIMES! I need help! I’ve contacted lawyers and none will take the case cause they won’t do it for free!

    • Ann C., Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi, Misty. We are sorry to hear about your situation and experience. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community to continue to work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. Generally, you will have a shorter wait if you call later in the day. You can also contact your local Social Security office. You can ask for a supervisor on your next visit or call. You can also submit feedback regarding your experience by visiting our Contact Social Security page at https://www.ssa.gov/agency/contact/. Once there, select the “Email Us” link. This will take you to the “Email A Question to our Support Team” form, where you can complete and submit a compliment, complaint, or suggestion. We hope this is resolved soon.

  9. Roman M

    I agree that one should concern a hearing specialist. I personally having issues with my ear and throat have been showing my self to an ent in great neck ny and honestly I believe that showing yourself to a particular specialist for a problem is way better then just showing yourself to a regular doctor and get a better results.

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