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What Is a Continuing Disability Review?

June 30, 2021 Disability

Once you have successfully made it through the arduous process of applying for Social Security disability benefits, you can pretty much sit back and relax, right? Technically, yes, but don’t get too comfortable. To ensure that benefits are going only to those who continue to need them, the Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) in which they periodically assess recipients’ continued eligibility. You have little to worry about from a CDR in most cases, but, in some circumstances, a CDR can result in a termination of benefits. Our Baltimore Social Security lawyer explains in more detail below. 

What Does the SSA Look for in a CDR? 

During a CDR, the SSA evaluates whether a recipient remains eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. There are two key things the SSA is looking for when it conducts a CDR: 

  • Work review, wherein the SSA looks at whether you are engaging or capable of engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA)
  • Medical review, wherein the SSA evaluates whether your condition continues to meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled” (i.e., you cannot do the work you did before because of a medical condition, you cannot transition to other work because of a medical condition, and your medical condition is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death). 

During the CDR process, the SSA will review your original case file with the supporting evidence you previously submitted to evaluate whether you are entitled to continued benefits. You must also submit any additional evidence that will help the SSA make its determination. In some cases, the SSA will order a consultative examination.

How Often Will I Be Subject to a CDR? 

The frequency of your CDRs will vary based on the likelihood that your condition will improve. For conditions that are expected to improve shortly, your first CDR will occur within six to 18 months after your benefits started. For long-term conditions that are expected to improve at an indeterminate date in the future, your first CDR will occur about three years after your benefits start. For conditions that are not expected to improve at any point, your first CDR will occur within five to seven years after your benefits start. 

Is there Anything that Can Trigger a CDR? 

While CDRs are carried out on a periodic basis, certain things can trigger an otherwise unscheduled CDR. These can include: 

  • You report to the SSA that you have recovered or have returned to work 
  • Your state vocational agency reports to the SSA that you are working or are able to work
  • Someone in a position to know your physical condition tells the SSA that you are not disabled, you are not following your prescribed treatments, or that you have returned to work
  • The SSA receives any other evidence that raises questions about your continuing eligibility

Keep in mind, however, that there are exceptions to these rules. For example, entering a trial work period to determine whether you are ready to return to the workforce while you are receiving benefits will not be taken as evidence that your disability has ended (under the right circumstances).

Contact a Baltimore Social Security Lawyer for Further Information

If you are concerned about your continued eligibility to receive Social Security disability benefits, you should consider speaking to a qualified attorney who can advise you on the best course of action. To get started, please contact Baltimore Social Security lawyer Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.