Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are awarded to those who have accumulated sufficient time in the workforce paying into the Social Security system who can demonstrate they have a disability that is expected to last more than twelve months or is expected to result in death. Under the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s rules that govern SSD benefit eligibility, you can expect to receive benefits as long as your disability continues and renders you unable to work. Depending on your age, your benefits may terminate at your normal expected retirement age as projected by SSA, when you would be eligible to begin to take Social Security retirement benefits. SSD benefits also can terminate if your physical condition and functional abilities (i.e. what you still can do despite your disability) improve enough to allow you to go back to work. Indeed, there are certain disabilities that are not typically permanent and can improve with time and medical treatment, some of them enough that a person may be able to eventually work again.
Given this, the SSA classifies each SSD recipient into one of three categories when an application for benefits is first approved: (1) Medical Improvement Expected, (2) Medical Improvement Possible, or (3) Medical Improvement Not Expected. Based on the category you are initially placed into when your application for benefits is first approved, SSA then periodically performs something called continuing disability reviews to assess whether each person receiving SSD benefits is still disabled and cannot work. The timing and frequency of these reviews depends upon which category you are placed into when you are first approved for benefits. However, these continuing disability reviews can sometimes be slanted against the SSD recipient and, if the SSA makes its decision without sufficient medical information or without the proper facts, then it can be devastating for the SSD recipient because he or she is unable to work but also is not receiving disability benefits either despite still being disabled.
Thus, it is important that, if you are currently receiving SSD benefits and you receive notice from the SSA that it intends to discontinue your SSD benefits because it believes you can work and you no longer meet the criteria for receiving SSD benefits, you hire an experienced Virginia SSD attorney like the attorneys of Kalfus & Nachman in order to ensure that your benefits are not discontinued based upon an incomplete or inaccurate reading or interpretation of your medical records by the SSA.
The Initial Classification of Disabilities and Continuing Disability Reviews
The SSA periodically conducts what are called continuing disability reviews of every person who receives SSD benefits. These reviews are intended to ensure that a person is still disabled and unable to work as a result of his or her disability. Depending on what medical condition you qualified for SSD benefits based upon, and in particular the category you were placed into at the time your application for benefits was first approved, the SSA will look at your file to see whether not your condition has improved enough so that you should still be receiving benefits. As a general rule, benefits are reviewed every 18 months, every 3 years, or every 7 years depending on your condition and your chances of improvement. However, regardless of when your file is up for review, it is imperative that the SSA have the most complete and up to date information available in order to make an informed decision as a part of your continuing disability review.
If you have been approved for SSD benefits, you need to ensure that you always stay on top of your SSD benefits in order to ensure that nothing adverse occurs that could jeopardize your continued receipt of benefits. For instance, if you receive a request for information or medical records or any correspondence whatsoever from the SSA, or particularly if you receive notice that you will be subject to a continuing disability review, it is important to be on top of this. You should respond as soon as you are able and with all of the information and records in your possession.
Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
The experienced SSD attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman know how to ensure the SSA does not make a decision at the continuing disability review stage based on incomplete information or without the critical records. We ensure that instead, the SSA understands that our clients remain disabled by providing all the pertinent records and information and putting that information in the proper context in order to ensure our clients’ SSD benefits continue. If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining if you qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be if you qualify for benefits, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.