Your Continuing Eligibility
In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you have a disability. However, there are certain circumstances that may change your continuing eligibility for disability benefits. For example, your health may improve or you might go back to work.
The law requires that we review your case from time to time to verify that you still have a disability. We tell you if it is time to review your medical condition and we will keep you informed about your benefit status. Generally, if your health hasn’t improved, or if your disability still keeps you from working, you’ll continue to receive your benefits.
Reviewing Your Disability
In general, your benefits will continue as long as you still have a disability that prevents you from working. Any person who receives disability benefits must have their medical conditions reviewed. How often we review your medical condition depends on whether your condition is likely to improve. We call this review a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
If medical improvement is:
- Expected, we’ll normally review your medical condition within six to 18 months after our decision.
- Possible, we’ll normally review your medical condition about every three years.
- Not expected, we’ll normally review your medical condition about every seven years.
Your initial award notice will tell you when you can expect your first medical review.
What Can Cause Benefits to Stop?
Two things can cause us to decide that you no longer have a disability and stop or suspend your benefits:
If, after completing a nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP), you work at a level we consider substantial.
We suspend cash benefits for months your earnings are over the substantial level during the 36-month re-entitlement period after you complete the TWP. If your earnings fall below the substantial level in that period, we can start your benefits again. In 2022, average earnings of $1,350 or more per month ($2,260 or more per month if you are blind) are usually considered substantial. The amount of earnings that we consider substantial changes each year.
- If we decide that your medical condition has improved and you no longer have a disability.
Remember, you are responsible for promptly reporting any improvement in your condition, or if you return to work. The booklet we send you when your application is approved explains what you need to report to us. For more information on what else may cause your benefits to stop, refer to How We Decide if You Still Have a Qualifying Disability.
If You Go Back to Work
If you're like most people, you would rather try to work than live on disability benefits.
There are special rules that help you keep your cash benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work. We call these rules work incentives. For more information about Social Security work incentives, read Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.