Disability benefits are an essential source of income for thousands of individuals and families throughout Arkansas. After going through the difficult and frustrating process, many people mistakenly believe their benefits will last forever. Unfortunately, that is not also the case. Under the best circumstances, your benefits will only last until you reach retirement age. However, at that point, they simply become retirement benefits.
Many people do not realize that their disability benefits could be suspended or terminated. Your benefits could be lost if your condition improves, if you return to work, or if you are incarcerated. Your conduct could also adversely impact your monthly payments, including ignoring a Continuing Disability Review or failing to follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment.
A severe disability can impact your life for a long time, perhaps even forever. Getting long term disability benefits through SSI can be extremely helpful for people who have suffered debilitating injuries. Still, people often wonder how long they can expect their benefits to last. In this blog post, our Fayetteville, AR disability lawyers explain how long you can receive long term disability benefits and how we can assist with filing claims, appealing claims, and dealing with insurance companies. If you have any questions or want to speak with one of our attorneys, call (479) 316-0438.
Can Long-Term Social Security Benefits Get Terminate in Arkansas?
Social Security Disability benefits last for as long as you meet the qualifications for eligibility. You will no longer be able to receive benefits if your condition improves or your disability goes away. Your Social Security Disability Benefits can also be terminated for the following reasons: you reach the age at which you can receive Social Security Retirement benefits (65), you go to jail, you lie about your injury or disability, you no longer have a financial need for benefits, or you no longer qualify based on your work credits.
Meeting Disability Requirements
You can only receive disability benefits if you have an eligible disability and either a work history that supports your ability to receive Social Security benefits (this means that you’ve accumulated enough work credits to qualify) or a financial need for benefits. For you to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, your disability must be one of the qualifying disabilities listed by the Social Security Administration. Simply having the condition is not enough to qualify—the qualifying condition for disability in Arkansas must be severe enough to prevent you from going to work to earn a living.
The Social Security Administration periodically reviews who receives disability benefits. These are known as Continuing Disability Reviews, and they’re given to everyone that receives benefits through the Social Security Administration. They occur, depending on your condition, every 18 months, three years, or seven years; the less likely your condition is to improve, the less frequently your reviews will occur. If your condition seems to be improving, the Social Security Administration may ask you to go back to work on a trial basis for up to nine months. If you can perform your work tasks, you will no longer be able to receive benefits.
Reaching Retirement Age
Social Security Disability benefits last until you reach the age of 65, at which point you’ll be able to receive benefits as a retired person. To continue to receive benefits through Social Security as a retired person, you will have to keep a close eye on your condition. Continue to go to the doctor and get treatment for your condition. Having a doctor’s assessment of your inability to perform normal activities will be necessary when you undergo a Continuing Disability Review. If you don’t respond to notices about your Continuing Disability Reviews, you might lose your benefits entirely.
Disabled individuals that go to prison will no longer be entitled to benefits through Social Security. The purpose of Social Security benefits is to provide people with funds to pay for basic living expenses. Since they will have no living expenses while incarcerated, Social Security is no longer necessary. You can continue to receive Social Security benefits if your incarceration lasts less than 30 days. After an individual has served their jail sentence and been released from prison, they will be able to resume their payments without having to re-apply for benefits if their sentence lasted 12 months or less. Sentences longer than 12 months require a new application.
Other Reasons Your Disability Benefits May Be Terminated
Social Security Disability benefits may be terminated if the SSA discovers that you: lied about your disability, you no longer qualify for benefits based on accumulated work credits, or you no longer have a financial need for benefits. You may no longer need financial assistance if you receive benefits through another avenue, such as Workers’ Compensation or if you receive an inheritance.
Keeping Your Social Security Disability Benefits
As you can see from the information above, just because you have been approved for Social Security Disability benefits does not mean you will continue to receive them forever. There are a number of steps you could take to help avoid having your benefits terminated or suspended by the SSA.
The SSA will conduct periodic reviews depending on the severity of your medical condition. In many cases, the SSA might not conduct a review for seven years. However, in some situations, a review might be conducted as early as eighteen months. A faster review is likely to happen if the SSA believes your condition is likely to improve due to pending medical treatment or surgery.
To keep your benefits, you must continue to see your doctors regularly. Our Arkansas disability lawyers recommend seeing your doctor at least every three or four months to maintain regular medical treatment. It is vital to provide medical documentation and evidence that your condition continues to impact your ability to perform the tasks necessary to work. While some disability benefits last until retirement age or death, many medical conditions improve with proper medical treatment or physical therapy. If you do not have evidence that your condition continues to impact your ability to work or if you have been avoiding medical treatment, the SSA will likely terminate your benefits.
When you have to complete a Continuing Disability Review, you want to demonstrate to the SSA that your condition persists despite your best efforts. Social Security wants disability benefits recipients to work to improve their condition.
Therefore, you should continue to see your doctor or specialists regularly. This includes complying with your doctor’s medical treatment, such as taking prescribed medication, undergo diagnostic tests, and participate in physical therapy if ordered. In some cases, you might have to seriously consider surgery if it could improve your condition.
Be sure to tell your doctor if your condition or symptoms are growing worse. You should also let your doctor know if you are experiencing any improvement. If you are not honest, the SSA could terminate your benefits.
You should also refrain from doing anything that would hurt your condition. For instance, you should not be using alcohol, drugs, or tobacco if it would further worsen your condition.
When your Continuing Disability Review comes up, your benefits should not be terminated if your condition has not improved. However, if you have not been seeing your doctor or following through with your medical treatment, the SSA will not be able to make an accurate assessment regarding the severity of your condition.
How an Attorney Can Help You Stay On Long-Term Social Security Disability in Arkansas
If your benefits are terminated, you can work with a Greenland, AR disability lawyer to appeal the Social Security Administration’s decisions. An attorney can help you restore your terminated benefits by helping you file the right paperwork to prove that you are still in need of benefits. You might have to undergo medical examinations to prove that your condition is still severe enough to keep you from being able to go to work. In some cases, you may be able to re-apply for Social Security Disability benefits through a spouse or parent, which an experienced Bella Vista disability attorney can help you do.
It is possible to file an appeal on your own, but your case will move along much more quickly if you use the help of an attorney. Using an attorney for matters related to your Social Security Disability can also significantly increase your chances of being approved when you apply for disability benefits in Arkansas or if you file an appeal if you are denied disability benefits in Arkansas.
Appealing Terminated Social Security Disability Benefits in Arkansas
Most people in Arkansas who face a Continuing Disability Review will continue to receive their benefits. However, if the SSA believes your condition has improved or you have failed to continue medical treatment, your benefits could be terminated. As listed above, there are other reasons your benefits could be terminated. Perhaps your benefits were suspended because of a report that you were working.
If this does occur, you will receive a notice indicating that your disability benefits have been terminated with the reason for the Social Security Administrations’ decision. If you receive this notice, you have a right to appeal the decision. However, there is a time limit. An appeal must be filed within sixty days of the termination notice. Therefore, you should contact our Arkansas disability lawyer immediately.
The appellate process for suspended or terminated claims is similar to the appeal filed for a denied initial claim.
The first step is to file a written request for reconsideration. This must be done within sixty days of receiving the notice of termination. If you want to keep receiving benefits, you must file a request for benefit continuation within ten days of the notice date. You might have to appear before a disability hearing officer during this phase of your appeal. During the reconsideration process, you are entitled to provide additional medical documentation or other evidence.
If you are unhappy with the decision after the SSA reconsidered your claim, you are permitted to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). You have sixty days from the date you receive the decision to file an appeal. Similar to a reconsideration request, you must request a continuation of benefits within ten days of the notice of reconsideration determination.
During the hearing before the administrative law judge, you could present additional evidence and might be able to have witnesses testify on your behalf. You and any witnesses will be subject to questioning by the ALJ. If you are going to present new evidence, object to any issues, or provide a written statement, it must be submitted no later than five business days prior to the hearing. Because of the importance of the hearing, you should have our Arkansas disability lawyers representing you.
As stated, during the appeal process, you are entitled to request that your benefit payments continue while your appeal is pending. For many people in Arkansas, this is necessary – especially if they are disabled and still unable to work. However, if you lose your appeal, you could be required to repay the overpayment of benefits.
Fayetteville, AR Disability Attorneys Offering Free Consultations in Arkansas
Dealing with the Social Security Administration after a life-altering injury can be extremely difficult. Use the services of Harris, AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, to correspond with SSA and get the benefits to which you’re entitled. Years of experience allow us to fight on your behalf. To speak with us about scheduling a free and confidential consultation, call us at (479) 316-0438.
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