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Can SSDI benefits be terminated?

When Missourians have their applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits granted, they rarely wonder about the chance that those benefits might end someday. Unfortunately, the federal regulations that govern SSD claims provide two grounds on which benefits may be terminated. This post will summarize each of those reasons.

As noted in prior posts, a person may continue to receive SSD benefits and also work if the amount of income is less than $1,130 per month ($1,820 for blind persons). If the amount of income exceeds that limit, the Social Security Administration has the right to terminate benefits. The second basis for terminating benefits is an improvement in the recipient's medical condition to the point where the recipient's condition no longer satisfies the SSA's definition of disability.

All recipients of SSD benefits must notify the SSA of any change in their condition. The SSA will review a person's medical condition under the following circumstances:

  • Every 18 months if the original diagnosis stated that improvement was "expected":
  • Every 36 months if the original diagnosis stated that improvement was "possible";
  • No sooner than seven years if the original diagnosis stated that improvement was "not expected."

If the medical evidence shows that the recipient is able to work because of an improvement in their medical condition, benefits may be terminated.

A recipient whose benefits have been terminated may appeal that decision in much the same manner as a denial of benefits is appealed. Anyone who has received a termination of benefits letter may wish to consult a lawyer who handles SSD claims and appeals. A knowledgeable attorney can provide a helpful evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of reversing the decision by making an appeal.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Planner: What Can Cause Benefits To Stop?," accessed on Jan. 22, 2017

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