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I Received a Notice That My Disability Will Be Cut Off. What Do I Do to Keep This From Happening?
When you rely on disability payments to maintain a certain quality of life for you and your family, being notified that your benefits are being terminated can be a scary and stressful experience. These threats are sometimes toothless, however, and there may be a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of your benefits being cut off. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may be able to continue receiving some or all of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
If the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews your case and makes a final decision that you no longer meet disability standards, they will likely try to take your benefits away. In some cases, you may be able to stop the termination from happening, and in others, you can appeal a final decision. If you have legitimately recovered from whatever problems kept you on disability, you may not be able to prevent a termination of benefits, but you should always contact a local disability insurance attorney in order to find out what options you may have at your disposal.
In order to understand why your disability benefits may be terminated, you should be familiar with the SSA review process.
Reviewing Your Disability
In order to continue receiving disability payments, the law requires the SSA to occasionally review your case to ensure you are still disabled.
When you first begin receiving payments, your disability prognosis should be qualified as either expected to recover, possible to recover, or not expected to recover. Essentially, the severity and longevity of your disability should be decided early and will be used to determine how regularly the SSA reviews your case. Your medical improvement expectations have the following stipulations after your disability payments begin:
Expected: The SSA will review your case between 6 and 18 months
Possible: The SSA will review your case about every 3 years
Not Expected: The SSA will review your case usually no more than once every 7 years
What Ends Disability Payments?
If your review determines that you are no longer adequately disabled to receive benefits, your payments will be terminated. There are generally two things outside of incarceration, fraud, and death that can cause this determination to be made.
You Go Back to Work
If you decide to start working again while receiving disability benefits, your payments could be terminated. Depending on how much you earn, dates you worked, and the kind of work you did, you may be considered to be engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. If this is the case, you can expect Social Security to send you and your employers forms that will provide them with details into the kind of work you’ve been doing.
Keep in mind that it’s possible that volunteer work or free work done for friends and family can affect your disability payments, as well. If the SSA determines that the work you do for free could have met the threshold for SGA under circumstances where you were being paid, they may attempt to terminate your benefits.
Your Medical Condition Improves
Though the reviews the SSA conducts throughout a continuing disability are not as strict as the one required to initially receive benefits, they can uncover information about your medical situation that can lead to a termination of benefits. Your doctors and other health care providers will likely need to provide information about checkups to the SSA to find out if your medical condition has improved at all. In most cases, a review does not lead to a termination of benefits, but if you’re not careful when dealing with the SSA, they might take advantage of any indication of improvement or use evidence of some of your recent activities in an attempt to end benefits.
Appealing Your Disability Decision
If the SSA informs you that your benefits will be terminated, you will likely want to appeal the decision. There are four levels to the appeals process for disability determinations:
A reconsideration is a full review of your case by a third party that did not take part in your determination. They can either be a medical reconsideration for any denial that was due to a medical improvement or lack of disability, or a non-medical reconsideration for denials due to income or asset restrictions.
Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
Once a reconsideration is submitted and responded to, you can appeal again to an administrative law judge if you’re still not satisfied by the determination. These can be done via video call or in person. The judge for your case will not have been involved in any prior considerations in your case, so you’ll have a fresh set of ears for arguing your case.
Review by the Appeals Council
If you disagree with the determinations of the administrative law judge who hears your case, you can still appeal further to the appeals council. At this point, they may deny a request based on social security law and simply return the case to the judge for further review without hearing your case, but in others, you may get another chance to argue for your right to keep disability payments coming.
Federal Court review
If the appeals council does not review your case or if you disagree with their determination, the last option is to file a civil suit in a federal district court. This is the only option in the appeals process that is not available online, so be sure to check with your attorney about the steps you need to take to appeal your case at this final level.
Get Help With Your Disability Case Today
If you’ve been notified of an impending termination of your disability benefits in Florida, seeking the help of a seasoned disability attorney in your area is a good way to improve your chances of successfully appealing the decision. Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd want to help fight for your right to a fair assessment of your impairments and financial situation. Give us a call at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
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