How Long Can You Stay on Social Security Disability (SSDI)?

When someone suffers from a physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible to work, they could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. These benefits often provide much-needed monthly financial assistance for individuals with a qualifying condition. A common question people have, once they begin receiving benefits, is how long will they be able to rely on the monthly payments.

Typically, SSDI will last until one of four things occur: the impairment improves, the individual earns too much money, the individual reaches retirement age or the person on disability dies. Below, our Fayetteville Social Security Disability attorney examines these four situations and discusses how individuals lose their benefits.

Applying for and understanding Social Security benefits is complicated. Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, has assisted many people in applying for benefits or appealing claims that were denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Call (479) 316-0438 if you are suffering from physical or mental impairment.

How Long Does SSDI Last?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a benefits program that serves as social protection. Through the Social Security Administration, disabled individuals receive monthly financial benefits. Typically, these benefits should last as long as someone needs them.

If you qualify for SSDI, you will receive benefits for as long as you remain sufficiently impaired. Therefore, as long as your impairment prevents you from earning a living, you will continue to receive Social Security disability benefits.

Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR)

The severity of your condition is one of the critical factors used to determine if your benefits will continue. The SSA will periodically conduct reviews of your case to verify you are still eligible for your benefits.

The SSA is required to conduct a CDR once every three years unless your condition is anticipated to improve sooner. If a person’s condition is not expected to improve over time, the CDR might only be reviewed every seven years. Nonetheless, an administrative judge could set a different timeline if circumstances require – sometimes, a review will be conducted in twelve months.

When a condition is not expected to improve, the SSA will send the beneficiary a two-page Disability Update Report. You will have to complete this report and return it to the SSA. This report typically includes requests for information regarding doctor’s visits, hospitalization, recent test results, and whether you have been working. The SSA might also request additional medical documentation to evidence your condition. While this review usually looks at the previous year, the SSA could review back to the time you started receiving benefits.

Some beneficiaries will receive the lengthier Continuing Disability Review Report. If you receive this report from the SSA, you will have to undergo a full medical review that could take up to six months. While a flagged case would get a longer review, it is also randomly distributed. Therefore, the review you happen to receive does not indicate what the SSA plans to do. If improvement is shown, your benefits could be terminated through a short or long review. Any questions you have regarding your obligations and the review process should be directed to our knowledgeable Social Security Disability attorney.

Ending Your Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

As stated above, if your condition or impairment improves to the point where your disability is no longer prevents you from working, your benefits will cease. For example, if you were approved for benefits based on a back injury but surgery improved your condition, you should expect your benefits to stop. If you believe your benefits were terminated based on an improper diagnosis of your condition, contact our Social Security benefits lawyer.

SSDI is not meant to last a lifetime. Once you reach retirement age, your SSDI will stop and you will begin receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Typically, the monthly benefits should remain approximately the same.

SSDI and Other Monthly Income

When you are receiving SSDI, you are still allowed to earn a small monthly income. However, if you should exceed the maximum threshold, you will lose your monthly benefits.

The SSA sets different income thresholds for people who are considered disabled and for blind applications. If you earn over the threshold, you are deemed to be engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA). The amount the SSA designates as SGA increases incrementally over time. As of 2021, the threshold for nonblind benefits recipients is $1,310 a month. For a blind individual, the monthly allowable income is $2,190.

Trial Work Programs

While your income is limited, the SSA will allow individuals receiving benefits to work for a limited time without altering their benefits. This period permits the person to see if they are capable of returning to the workforce.

For people receiving SSDI benefits, this program allows them to enter a nine-month trial work period. After the nine months have passed, the SSA will determine whether your disability still precludes you from engaging in SGA. If you are still disabled, but able to work, the SSA will continue your benefits and you will be eligible for benefits during any month you do not earn over $1,310. This period will last 36 months.

If You Have Questions Regarding SSDI, Contact Our Social Security Disability Attorney

Anyone applying for Social Security benefits or who has questions regarding the process should contact Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law. The SSDI application process is demanding, and many claims are denied. With the assistance of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney, you could avoid many of the mistakes that result in the denial of a claim or an untimely termination of benefits. Call (479) 316-0438 to schedule a free and confidential appointment.