I have been receiving Social Security disability benefits for some time now but was recently told the benefits will be cut off because I am no longer disabled under their Rules. I disagree with this decision; is there anything I can do?
As a matter of course, the SSA periodically “checks” on every beneficiary’s case to ensure benefits are only being disbursed to eligible individuals. This check, called a Continuing Disability Review, serves as a “Quality Control” on the system. Sometimes, however, the CDR consultant gets it wrong.
You can appeal the CDR determination that you are no longer disabled. If you want your benefits to continue pending the appeal, you must act quickly! You must tell Social Security that you want the benefits to continue while the appeal is pending within 10 days of receipt of your CDR denial.
Be advised that if you lose your Cessation of Benefits appeal, you may have to repay these benefits to SSA. An attorney can advise whether you should also consider filing an additional request for a Waiver of Overpayment should you ultimately lose the Cessation appeal.
If you do not act within those 10 days to continue your benefits pending the appeal, or if you choose to allow the benefits to stop while the appeal is pending, you may be eligible to collect back benefits if you win the Cessation appeal.
If SSA seeks to terminate your benefits because the Agency determined you were no longer medically disabled, the legal standards are a bit different than when you were initially found eligible for SS disability benefits. With a Cessation case, the burden is on the Agency to show 1) you experienced a significant medical improvement related to your ability to work and 2) you can perform Substantial Gainful Activity (Social Security’s way of describing an ability to return to the competitive work environment on a regular and continuous basis).
Your Cessation appeal could potentially make its way, yet again, all the way through the Agency, including another Administrative hearing, to the Appeals Council and then into the Federal Court system. Considering the different legal standards and the benefits at stake, it is important to consult with an attorney to obtain some guidance on your rights, liabilities and options.