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Anyone who has ever applied for—and won—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits knows that it can be a long and challenging process. These claims are often only approved after an initial denial and subsequent SSDI/SSI appeals that can take months or years.

And unfortunately, winning SSDI or SSI benefits does not ensure they will continue forever. They can be lost for various reasons, requiring the recipient to plead their case once again to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

When Benefits Might Be Revoked

7.7 million Americans receive SSI payments. 9.2 million are enrolled in SSDI. About 1 out of 10 SSDI recipients also receive SSI.

According to SSA, roughly 2 million beneficiaries lose their benefits each year. The reasons why somebody might lose their benefits include no longer meeting disability requirements, returning to work, increases in income, and incarceration.

Graham Law attorney Joshua Graham has noticed that benefits are commonly lost in the following situations:

Age 18 Redetermination

SSI eligibility rules are different for children and adults. Generally, when a person receiving SSI under childhood rules turns 18, they are reviewed within a year of their 18th birthday to determine if they can still receive benefits under adult rules.

The beneficiary must undergo an interview at their local SSA office and complete forms. Their medical information is then reviewed, and a determination of adult eligibility is made.

If denied, benefits will cease after 2 months, unless you request within 10 days that your benefits continue. Benefits may also continue if the applicant is granted Section 301 status for participating in a special education or vocational rehabilitation program.

Continuing Disability Reviews

Social Security requires individuals receiving disability benefits to periodically undergo what’s called a “continuing disability review” (CDR). If SSA determines a recipient is no longer disabled, their benefits will stop.

CDRs are conducted every 3 years for beneficiaries whose impairments are not considered permanent. If a medical condition is not expected to improve, a CDR is performed every 5 – 7 years. Both children and adult recipients are subject to CDRs. During the CDR, Social Security also reviews non-medical program requirements related to income, resources, and living arrangements.

Benefits can continue through an appeal as long as the request is made within 10 days of the initial notice that a physical or mental impairment has ceased.

SSI Recipient Becomes Over Resourced

Because SSI is a needs-based program, Social Security considers the amount of resources a person has. Resources include money, property, stocks, land, life insurance, vehicles, bonds, and other assets that can be converted to cash. However, not all assets count as resources for SSI.

To be eligible for SSI, a person’s resource must not exceed $2,000 (single) or $3,000 (couple). If the value of countable resources is over the allowable limit at the beginning of the month, SSI benefits are not paid for that month.

Recipient of Childhood SSDI Benefits Gets Married

SSDI Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB), also known as Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefits, are available to adults who have a disability that began before age 22, and whose parent(s) is/are disabled, retired, or deceased. SSDI DAC is considered a “child’s” benefit because it is paid according to a parent’s Social Security earnings records (not the adult child’s work record).

Marriage typically disqualifies a DAC recipient from receiving further benefits. There are exceptions, though, such as when two DAC recipients marry. Divorce or widowhood can also re-entitle the beneficiary to DAC benefits. Social Security notes that “the rules vary depending on the situation.”

SSDI Recipient Returns to Work

It is possible to receive SSDI benefits and still work. Social Security offers a Trial Work Period (TWP) that allows beneficiaries to test their ability to work for up to 9 total months, without affecting their benefits.

During the TWP, full SSDI benefits are paid, regardless of earnings, as long as the work is reported and the disability continues. If less than $1,050 is earned, it does not count toward a trial work month. The months don’t have to be continuous, either. They’re counted within a consecutive 60-month period.

Following the TWP, an SSDI recipient can work and receive benefits in any month their earnings aren’t “substantial” (in 2023, any earnings over $1,470). Benefits may stop due to earnings that exceed the substantial threshold. In this case, they can be restarted within 5 years if a person’s disability keeps them from working. A new application is not needed, but Social Security will perform a medical condition review.

Graham Law Can Help With SSDI and SSI Appeals

Applicants have a right to professional representation when dealing with SSA. A 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office found that people who had a representative, such as an attorney, were granted benefits at a rate nearly 3 times higher than those without representatives.

Joshua Graham handles SSDI and SSI appeals and can additionally connect clients with food, shelter, medical treatment, and vocational rehabilitation resources. If you lost benefits and need help getting them back, contact Josh at / 740-454-8585.

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