This blog has written extensively about how difficult it can be to gain approval for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The process can be long and extremely frustrating. It is a relief to finally start receiving the benefits, because for most people it makes all the difference in being able to make ends meet.
That is why receiving a letter from the Social Security Administration that they are halting your benefits can be such a frightening moment. The first thing you need to do if you receive such a letter is to take a deep breath. You have options.
Why Do They Want To Cut Off My Benefits?
If the SSA wants to cut off your benefits, it is usually for one of two reasons:
- You are making too much money per month ($1,130 in 2016)
- The SSA determines that you are no longer disabled and can resume gainful employment
If it is for the second reason, the SSA may require you to undergo a "Continuing Disability Review," in which they will ask you to provide evidence that you still cannot work. If they determine you can work, they will stop your benefits.
Can I Appeal?
Yes. The appeals process for the termination of benefits is similar to the appeals process for an initial claim denial. As soon as you receive the letter, you have 60 days to request a reconsideration of the ruling.
You can continue to receive your SSDI benefits if you request an appeal within 10 days of receiving the letter.
If the SSA upholds its ruling in the reconsideration phase, you then have 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. If an attempt to keep your benefits at that level also fails, you again have 60 days to file an appeal with the Appeals Council.
The SSA recommends that you go through the appeals process instead of filing a new application for SSDI benefits. This is especially true if you are able to continue receiving benefits while your appeal makes its way through the system. Filing a brand new application could also lead to a long appeals process.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
If you receive a letter from the SSA stating that they will terminate your benefits, contact an experienced disability lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can look examine the notice, determine the SSA's reasoning and help you determine the best way to proceed. Your attorney will know how to follow the proper procedures and gather the right evidence to help you present a strong case to keep receiving the disability benefits that you deserve.