How long does SSI review take? Social security disability reviews can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months or more depending on whether you received the short or the long form. If you’re subjected to a full medical review, it may take longer.
As you know, the SSA routinely reviews the medical condition of people who are receiving disability benefits. It’s what the agency calls a “continuing disability review” (CDR). The frequency of which depends on how likely you are to recover and start working again.
When it’s time for your review, the SSA will send you forms by mail. These forms contain questions about your health, the activities you do, and how often you visit a doctor among others. You must fill-up this form and mail it back to the SSA. These forms come in two types: the short form or mailers and the long form.
Most people receiving SSDI and SSI benefits receive the short form. But if you are expected to improve in the short run, you’ll most likely receive the long form.
Those with disability claims who received the short form typically get a letter from the SSA one to three months after they mailed it back to the agency. While long form recipients have to undergo a full medical review that usually takes several months. There are also disability recipients who initially get the short form then followed by a long form. In these rare cases, the process can take six months or more.
WHY IS MY SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BEING REVIEWED?
Though most disability recipients are really disabled, there are also some bad eggs who try to take advantage of the system. You’ve probably heard reports about people who have already recovered and have started working but are still receiving disability benefits. Or those who have faked their disability to get benefits.
Remember that social security disability benefits are meant to assist people with disabilities. Unlike workers’ compensation, it is federally funded. So the government has to make sure that those who got approved for disability are really qualified. Having many non-disabled people on the SSA’s disability payroll will deprive those who really need it the most.
So if you received a social security disability review notice, know that it’s just routine. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your claim. Though your answers on the questionnaire may affect your benefits.
SSDI REVIEW PROCESS
The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) review process involves several steps to determine if an individual’s disability status still qualifies for benefits. Here is a general outline of the SSDI review process:
The Social Security Administration (SSA) will notify you that your case is being reviewed. This typically occurs every 3 to 7 years, although it can vary depending on the severity of your condition.
2. EVALUATION OF MEDICAL RECORDS
During the review, the SSA will gather and assess your medical records, including any new information since your last review. They will evaluate whether your condition has improved, stabilized, or worsened.
3. REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Sometimes, the SSA may request additional information or documentation from you, such as updated medical reports or test results. It is essential to provide this information promptly to avoid delays in the review process.
4. CONSULTATIVE EXAMINATION
If the SSA needs more information, they may schedule a consultative examination with a healthcare professional. The SSA typically pays for this examination.
The SSA will determine your continued eligibility for SSDI benefits. They will assess if your condition still meets their criteria for disability. You will receive written notification of the decision.
If your benefits are denied or terminated, you can appeal the decision. The appeals process includes several levels, starting with reconsideration, then a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, and further appeals to the Appeals Council and federal court if necessary.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY REVIEW?
As mentioned, the SSA will mail you a form once your schedule for disability review is up. What happens next will depend on whether you receive the short or long form.
IF YOU GET THE SHORT FORM
A short form or mailer is officially called a Disability Update Report. In most cases, it’s just the SSA’s way of keeping tabs on its disability recipients. But sometimes, the agency also uses it to determine if the recipient needs a continuing disability review.
The form contains questions about:
- how often you visit the doctor
- whether your health has improved
- recent trainings you’ve attended (if any)
- whether you’re following the prescribed treatment
- whether your doctor has discussed the possibility of you going back to work
If you changed your address, have left the country, or lost your form in the mail, you can also complete the Disability Update Report online. After mailing it back to the SSA, you’ll get a letter from the SSA informing you of their decision. If they say that a medical review is not needed at this time, your CDR will be deferred until your next review period.
But if your answers on the form make the SSA doubt your eligibility for disability benefits, they may order a full medical review.
IF YOU GET THE LONG FORM
People with a high chance of recovery usually get the long form or the Continuing Disability Report (Form SSA454). If you receive this, it means you’ll have to go through a CDR and a full medical review.
The form asks more extensive questions about your disability and whether you’ve worked since your last review. It also requires you to list all the doctors, clinics, or hospitals you’ve visited. The SSA will then request your medical records from them.
Since the CDR process involves a full medical review, the disability decision can take several months.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY REVIEW STATUS?
To check the status of your Social Security disability review, you can visit the official website of the Social Security Administration (SSA) at www.ssa.gov. On their website, you can find a page specifically dedicated to checking the status of your application or appeal. This page allows you to understand the stage your application is in, check if any additional information or documentation is needed, and get an estimate of when a decision will be made.
If you prefer to speak with someone directly, call the toll-free number 1-800-772-1213. The SSA has representatives available to answer any questions you may have and provide assistance in understanding how to check the status of your Social Security application.
HOW OFTEN CAN YOU EXPECT A DISABILITY REVIEW?
How often does SSI review your case? If you are expected to improve, they’ll schedule your review about eighteen months after you got disabled. If improvement is only possible but not expected, your condition will be reviewed every three years. When your condition is permanent, expect a disability review every seven years.
HOW LONG DOES SSDI MEDICAL REVIEW TAKE?
The length of time for an SSDI medical review can vary depending on several factors. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average processing time for disability claims requiring a medical determination is provided on their website. However, it’s important to note that these times are averages, and individual cases may differ.
Additional sources suggest that a social security disability review can range from 1 to 6 months or more, depending on the review type and the case’s complexity. Some sources state that the initial review typically takes about 3-5 months, while others mention that the continuing disability review process can take 5 to 6 months or longer.
It’s important to remember that these timeframes are not definitive and can vary based on individual circumstances.
WILL IT STOP MY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Most of the time it won’t, but it’s possible depending on your case.
There are two things that can stop your disability benefits.
First, if Social Security found out that you have medically improved and that you’re no longer considered disabled.
Second, if they found out that you’ve engaged in a substantial gainful activity (SGA). This means that you can already earn what you used to earn before your disability. Or you’re earning more than the SGA threshold. The amount changes every year but for 2021, it’s $1,310 per month.
In general, if you’re still disabled and unable to work, you won’t have to worry about losing your benefits.
CAN I IGNORE MY NOTICE?
You might have thought about ignoring your disability review notice. But that’s one thing you should never do.
Disregarding a review notice can result in losing your benefits. It’s much better to comply and go through the review. Besides, if you really are still disabled, you’ll most likely keep your benefits.
SUMMING IT UP
The average processing time for disability claims requiring a medical determination can range from 1 to 6 months. This timeframe includes both initial reviews and continuing disability reviews. Additionally, the duration of a Social Security disability review can vary depending on several factors.
The length of the review process can depend on factors such as the complexity of the case, the availability of medical records, and whether additional information or documentation is needed. Generally, it may take 3 to 5 months to receive a decision on a social security disability case, but individual circumstances can affect these timelines.
VICTOR MALCA – Florida Workers Compensation & Social Security Disability Attorney
Victor Malca P.A. has over 27 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success when fighting for his clients puts him among the most trusted workers’ compensation attorney’s in Florida. He specializes in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claiming lost social security disability benefits.
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About The Author
Judy Ponio is a writer and editor for the Victor Malca Law P.A. website and blog. She enjoys helping people in need with questions about social security disability and workers compensation law. She has a passion for helping those in need and the elderly with accurate legal information that can make a positive difference in their lives.