- Disability Benefits Help Those Who Cannot Work Due to a Medical Condition
- The SSA Will Periodically Review Your Qualifications for Disability Benefits
- Understanding When to Expect the SSA to Review Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
- Returning to Work Can Jeopardize How Long You Can Receive Disability Benefits
- Disability Benefits Convert When You Reach Your Full Retirement Age
- You Can Appeal If You Stop Receiving Disability Benefits
You can continue to receive disability benefits as long as you meet the requirements for your condition and you have not reached full retirement age. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will regularly check in on your medical qualifications and look for signs your medical condition has improved and you no longer suffer from a disabling impairment.
While it will keep tabs on your income, the SSA offers programs that allow you to return to work while continuing to get benefits. A Pittsburgh Social Security Disability lawyer with our firm can help you apply for benefits, appeal denials, or fight back if you believe your disability payments were wrongfully terminated.
Disability Benefits Help Those Who Cannot Work Due to a Medical Condition
Social Security Disability (SSD) is the umbrella term for two separate programs that provide monthly benefits to disabled individuals: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
SSDI recipients qualify for benefits via work credits earned through employment. You usually need at least 20 credits (five years of work) to qualify. There is no credit requirement for SSI. This needs-based program is available to disabled individuals with limited resources and income.
To be eligible for either SSDI or SSI, you must have a medical condition that is so severe it prevents you from working. The SSA maintains a list of conditions, commonly called the Blue Book, that it considers so severe that they are disabling. You can apply for disability benefits if you have a listed impairment or a condition equal in severity.
We can help you file an initial claim if you still need to do so.
You Must Also Meet Income Requirements
Your medical condition must prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 months. According to the Social Security Administration, the SGA limit for 2023 is $1,470 per month for most disabled individuals. If you make above this limit, the SSA will deny your claim or may discontinue your current payments. A disability benefits lawyer with our firm can appeal denials or a wrongful cessation of benefits.
For a free legal consultation, call 412-661-1400
The SSA Will Periodically Review Your Qualifications for Disability Benefits
After you receive approval for disability benefits, you will receive your monthly cash benefit for as long as your medical condition persists and you cannot work. The SSA will schedule regular check-ins to ensure you remain eligible. The agency needs to see that your condition has not improved, and you still suffer from a qualifying impairment.
Understanding When to Expect the SSA to Review Your Eligibility for Disability Benefits
When the SSA approves you for benefits, it puts you into a category based on your medical condition and impairment. Each category receives a regular review, but those with less severe impairments or those most likely to improve will receive a review sooner and more often than those with conditions that are unlikely to improve.
The categories include:
- Medical Improvement Expected (MIE)
- Medical Improvement Possible (MIP)
- Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE)
Which category the disability examiner puts you in depends on the information on your claim and the medical evidence the examiner uncovers to prove your impairment. In general, if the disability examiner finds:
- Your condition is “expected” to improve – the SSA will review your case every six months to 18 months.
- Improvement in your condition is “possible” – the SSA will reevaluate your case about every three years.
- Your condition is “not expected” to improve – the SSA will review your medical qualifications every seven years.
Returning to Work Can Jeopardize How Long You Can Receive Disability Benefits
The SSA offers disability benefits to help make ends meet if you cannot work because of your health. If you can work, you may no longer meet the strict qualifications for these benefits. The Social Security Administration will review your work activity when it considers your medical eligibility. It may also reevaluate your case any time you return to work without notifying your local field office.
The SSA offers several programs that allow you a trial work period while still drawing your benefits. However, if you return to work without participating in one of these programs, you risk the agency learning about your return to work from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). This could cause the Social Security Administration to cut off your disability benefits.
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Disability Benefits Convert When You Reach Your Full Retirement Age
The goal of Social Security Disability benefits is to bridge the gap between the time you can no longer work and when you reach retirement age and can draw Social Security retirement. Because of this, your disability benefits automatically stop and convert to retirement benefits when you reach your full retirement age.
At that time, your benefits convert automatically to Social Security retirement benefits. You should not have any interruption in your benefits, and many people do not even realize this has occurred. However, technically, you cannot receive disability benefits beyond your full retirement age.
You Can Appeal If You Stop Receiving Disability Benefits
If the SSA denies your disability claim or wrongfully revokes your benefits for medical or income reasons, you can appeal. You have 60 days from receiving an unfavorable determination to begin the appeal process. From there, you have 60 days between each stage of appeal to advance your claim.
A Social Security Disability attorney with our firm can represent and advise you through the following four stages:
- Request for Reconsideration
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing
- Appeals Council review
- Federal court claim
Contact a Disability Attorney With Berger and Green If You Have Questions About Your Benefits
The Social Security Disability team from the law firm Berger and Green can help you apply for benefits. If you already applied and the SSA denied your claim, we can help you appeal.
We serve SSD clients in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Contact us today for a free consultation and learn more about how we can take your case on contingency.