Your Continuing Eligibility
In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you are disabled. However, there are certain circumstances that may change your continuing eligibility for disability benefits. For example:
- your health may improve to the point where you are no longer disabled or
- like many people, you would like to go back to work rather than depend on your disability benefits.
The law requires that we review your case from time to time to verify that you are still disabled. We tell you if it is time to review your case and we also keep you informed about your benefit status. You also should be aware that you are responsible for letting us know if your health improves or you go back to work.
Reviewing Your Disabilities
In general, your benefits will continue as long as you are disabled. However, the law requires that we review your case periodically to see if you are still disabled. How often we review your case depends on whether your condition is expected to improve.
If medical improvement is:
- "Expected," your case will normally be reviewed within six to 18 months after your benefits start.
- "Possible," your case will normally be reviewed no sooner than three years.
- "Not expected," your case will normally be reviewed no sooner than seven years.
What Can Cause Benefits to Stop?
Two things can cause us to decide that you are no longer disabled and to stop your benefits:
Your disability benefits will stop if you work at a level we consider "substantial."
In 2018, average earnings of $1,180 or more per month ($1,970 or more per month if you are blind) are usually considered substantial.
- Your disability benefits also will stop if we decide that your medical condition has improved to the point that you are no longer disabled.
You are responsible for promptly reporting any improvement in your condition, if you return to work, and certain other events as long as you are receiving disability benefits. Page 11 of the booklet we send you when your application is approved explains what you need to report to us.
If You Go Back To Work
If you're like most people, you would rather work than try to 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." Work incentives include, but are not limited to, continued monthly benefits and Medicare coverage while you attempt to work on a full-time basis.
For more information about Social Security work incentives, read Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.