To make sure that only those qualified are receiving benefits, the SSA regularly conducts continuing disability reviews (CDR) for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries.
For adult beneficiaries, it can be every three to seven years depending on how likely your condition will improve. If your disability is permanent, expect your reviews to be less frequent. But the SSA will also conduct a CDR anytime if they have any reason to believe that your condition has improved.
Children who are receiving benefits will be reviewed once they reach 18 years old. For infants who receive disability benefits due to low birth weight, their condition will be reviewed after a year.
But how difficult is it to pass a continuing disability review?
In general, it’s a lot easier to ace a CDR than getting approved for benefits. So you don’t have to worry about it too much. The SSA is not there to find a reason to take your benefits away. Once they determined that your condition still prevents you from working, no action will be taken.
Of course, you still need to prepare for your CDR. Many have made the mistake of being complacent and ended up losing their benefits. If you want to keep yours, here are some tips on how to pass a continuing disability review:
1. Follow Your Treatment Protocol
One of the conditions for receiving disability benefits is that you must follow treatment protocols. This is the SSA’s way of ensuring that you are doing your best to improve your condition.
If the SSA gets word that you are disobeying your doctors or are not following treatment protocols, they will schedule a CDR. They can ask your doctor for checkup records or any other evidence that you are following your doctor’s prescriptions.
Once they determined that your condition remains the same despite following doctor’s orders, no action will be taken. You can keep receiving your benefits as usual. But if they find out that you are going against the treatment protocols, it can be a basis for stopping your benefits.
2. Learn More About Your Condition
During the review process, you will likely be asked questions about your condition. They will then cross-check it with your medical records. If what you’re telling them differs from what the records are saying, they will conduct further investigation. This can prolong the CDR process and might even result in loss of benefits.
To prevent this from happening, make sure to learn more about your condition. Ask your doctor pertinent questions about your recovery status. Understand the basics of your disease and how likely you will be able to get back to work. This will help you answer any questions the SSA will have and pass your CDR with flying colors.
3. Answer the Short Form Honestly
To let you know that your CDR schedule is up, the SSA will send you a notice by mail. It contains either a short form or a long form.
The short form, also known as the Disability Update Report, is generally for those with permanent disabilities. It’s only two pages long and contains questions about:
- post-disability employments
- recent training programs attended
- whether your health got better or worsened
- doctor’s visits for the past two years
- recent hospitalization or surgery
If your answers to these questions raise red flags to the SSA, they will send you the long form. The Continuing Disability Review Report (long form) is for those whose conditions are expected to improve. It’s ten-pages long and contains more detailed questions about your medical condition and employment status.
As much as possible, answer the short form honestly. This will save you the hassle of filling up the long form and the anxiety of waiting for your results for a few more months.
4. Keep Copies of Your Medical Records
During your CDR, the SSA will either get your updated medical records from your doctor or ask it from you.
If you can, keep copies of the medical records and any documents you’ve submitted to the SSA. Due to the volume of transactions, it’s not uncommon for the SSA to lose your documents. So it’s wise to keep a back-up, just in case.
5. Inform the SSA of Any Change in Address
The SSA will send the CDR notice along with the short or long forms to your registered mailing address. If you moved and did not inform the SSA of such, those paperworks will be sent to the wrong address.
If you don’t receive it or did not send it back in time, the SSA may cut off your benefits. It may take several months before you can file an appeal and get your benefits back.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.