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Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) today doesn't necessarily mean you'll still be eligible tomorrow. Social Security defines disability in part as an illness or injury that prevents you from being able to work for at least a year. If your condition improves to the point where you can go back to work, benefits are supposed to stop.
For that reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts a periodic check-in, called a continuing disability review (CDR), to ensure you still have a condition that keeps you from earning a livelihood.
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In a CDR, a disability examiner and medical consultant from Social Security go over your case to see if there has been any medical improvement since you started receiving benefits, or since your last review. You'll be required to provide certain medical information, including details on recent treatment, contacts for your doctors, and patient record numbers for medical centers and hospitals that treated you.
The reviewers will seek information from your health care team about your condition, how it affects you and how it's being treated. They may ask you to undergo a medical exam or test, which Social Security pays for. They'll also want to know if you have been working while receiving SSDI or SSI and, if so, how much you have earned.
The frequency and timing of disability reviews depends on how Social Security categorizes your long-term prognosis.
- Medical Improvement Expected: You'll have a review 6 to 18 months after the start of benefits.
- Medical Improvement Possible: You'll typically get a review every three years.
- Medical Improvement Not Expected: Reviews are normally conducted no sooner than every seven years.
The initial award notice you get when your claim for benefits is approved will tell you when to expect your first review.