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. Laurence J.

    Due to an accident at age 5 ,I’m now blind in my right eye. At age 74 now retired, am I eligible for any social security disability?

    • Vonda

      Hi Laurence, thanks for using our blog. The amount of a disability benefit is based on a person’s full retirement age benefit amount. So, once a person has reached their full retirement age, they are no longer eligible for disability benefits. It is true that you may still have a disability even when you reached your full retirement age. But, at your full retirement age the benefits are retirement benefits, not disability. We hope this helps.

  2. Kelsie P.

    Hello so I was approved for SSDI in 2012 due to a back injury and mental health so I can’t work, the issue has gotten a lot worse since. I have been in a deadly domestic and have gotten severally injured which just added to my previous injury so now I really can’t work I just got approved for a PCA because I can’t do household things on my own some days I can’t even shower on my own, I didn’t think things were going to get worse over the years so I thought I’d be able to possibly work part time but that’s not an option now, so is there anyway that my monthly benefit amount would increase because I’m struggling.

    • Vonda

      Thank you for your question, Kelsie. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability nor on how many disabilities you may have. We base it on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. Disability payments are established at the highest rate possible, and we used the highest years of your earnings to calculate your monthly benefit amount. For more information on the requirements for Social Security disability benefits, visit our Disability Benefits web page. We hope this information helps!

  3. Mirthala G.

    Hi my attorney filed my application in March 03/20 due to an auto immune disease it attacks my tissues and I can’t tolerate must foods I’m at 78lb I’m 5’4 because of it, I take 5 different meds on the daily including prozac and a couple of others that I don’t have to take daily, I’m 39 years old and I’m in the process of having all my teeth removed because of the inflammation on my tissue, due to panic attacks when I get a flare up I’ve been on Prozac, I do take other meds, I’ve been going to psychiatric counseling for over 2 years and I don’t leave the house must days due to chronic fatigue, I was covid positive back on 09/20 which left me worse l, I have a physical restriction letter because of how weak I’ve been,my application has been under quality review for months and this is how it’s been processing… how long is the time frame to get an answer for a quality review 2021

    Disability Determination Decision Under Review

    Your benefit application is currently under review for processing accuracy. Once the review is complete, we will continue processing your benefit application.

    The Disability Determination Service for your state started processing the medical portion of your benefit application.

    We started reviewing your Disability benefit application.

  4. Lea P.

    Hi, I am filling for SS Disability and I received a letter to give permission for medical records. I signed, had witnessed, and sent it back by USPS express mail. Tracking number EJ527687927US. The tracking shows that it was delivered to an address in London KY. Fine…

    But I’m worried that the proper address to send it to was in Tallahassee FL. I’m worried that I may have filled in the incorrect address when giving the envelope to USPS. So…

    Can you just please confirm that you have a Social Security office in London KY? And that it would be the correct place to handle medical authorization forms?

    Thank you!,
    Lea Paiva

    • Vonda

      Thanks for using our blog, Lea. You can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  5. Deborah E.

    I have an improvement to report but don’t know how or when to report it. I have not completed physical therapy and not all the conditions I was found to be disabled have improved. After spending several hours on the phone with SS main # and the local office, I have not been able to ask the questions or report an improvement. Should I wait for the 1st review?

  6. Sara K.

    I was approved for SSD 4yrs ago for mental health and chronic health. I have recently come up for a review. Im really not sure to do. I)its requesting information from the past 12mths of treatment. unfortunatly due to covid i have only recenly been getting treatment with mentalhealth via video zoom. this is not my fault. its taken almost a year just to start video visits. I have not seen my doctor due to covid becouse hes only taking emergencies and ongoing visits are not a proirity. i do need more blood work and a review on current progression of illness but i’m on a wait list. ontop of all this i am supposed to drop off review report at office and schedule a inperson review yet im tequniqualy concidered high risk and the offices arent even open. i tried to make an account online but yet again just like before i am being denied saying information cannot be verified but its all the right information. honestly i do not know what to do. and any advocate that could potentualy help me are unable to meet up do to not doing any in person appointments. I feel so screwed over right now. oh and on top of it from when i got the paperwork to when i have to return it is less than two weeks. also like everyone knows, nobody can go in person so everyone has to call in so way to many people are calling in and its near impossible to stay on call wait for 24hrs.

    • Vonda

      Hi Sara, thanks for using our blog. If you have questions about the review, please call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  7. Dennie R.

    My son who is 44 has been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder with paranoia. He is unable to work in any capacity because he starts talking very loudly to himself in the schizo phase. He complains about unreal beings and fears in a very loud voice. This mental illness is has been going on for at least 3 years. He has been in 3 or 4 mental institutions. He will not stay on required drugs because he will not believe that he needs them. We are in our 70’s and he is living in an apartment in our house. Can we get disabled social security payments for him? How about recovery of thousands of dollars in costs that we have paid that have significantly diminished our retirement savings?

    • Vonda

      Hi Dennie. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The (SSI) program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you think your son may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, he can use our online application.

      If he is unable to file online, he can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or call his local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

      • Donna W.

        Hello I have been receiving SSDI for many years for a mental illness and I have not had substantial employment as well I have a physical disability where I use assistive devices to preform my ADL’s. After turning
        50 years old I requested my diseased husband’s benefit along with my own as o have not remarried. I’m concerned because I have never been up for review but as soon as I requested my late husbands, I’m now up for review and I’m well aware that this is not a coincidence. I have given all paperwork etc. I’m so worried about loosing my SSDI first and wish I had not requested survivors benefits from My diseased Husband of 24 plus years as he was receiving full retirement at his time of death. Any feedback would be helpful!! Thank You

        • Vonda

          Hi Donna, thanks for using our blog. The Social Security Administration reviews cases from time to time to make sure the individuals receiving checks are still eligible to get them. The review depends on how severe your medical condition is and the likelihood it will improve. Generally, if medical improvement is possible, we will do a continuing disability review (CDR) approximately every 3 years. If not, we may review it less frequently. Check out our Continuing Eligibility web page for more details. We hope this helps!

  8. mark s.

    hello, i am currently disabled and receiving ssdi for it.

    what happens to by disability status when i reached retirement age. i ask because i also have medical coverage based on social security status as disabled. medical uses ss classification as qualifying criteria.
    do i still stay “disabled” to ss or do i go directly to gen retirement as a cust srvc for ss said. the ss classification allows me to keep medical benefits

    • Vonda

      Hi Mark, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries become full retirement age. The law does not allow a person to receive both retirement and disability benefits on one earnings record at the same time. We hope this helps!

  9. Margaret S.

    I was just approved for disability this month (December) but my eod is 7/27/19. Do I use the eod date to calculate when I can receive Medicare?

    • Vonda

      Hi Margaret, thank you for your question. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A and B if you’ve been entitled to Social Security disability benefits for 24 months. For example, if your month of entitlement is January 2021, your Medicare would be effective January 2023. An information packet will arrive in the mail a few months before you become eligible. Check out the Medicare brochure for more information.

  10. TAWANTA W.

    When I initially received SSDI, my Ophthalmologist encouraged me to apply for Blindness & Low Vision. Instead, I applied for Myasthenia Gravis which caused my blindness. I got a 2nd opinion . However, after 4 bilateral surgeries, my sight has worsened. I did have brief improvements but none lasted longer than 2-20 months. Can I apply for Blindness and Lowvision now although I am already receiving SSDI for M. G. Will my monthly benefits with blindness be my physical impairment?

    • Vonda

      For your security, Tawanta, 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 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

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