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How long can I get Social Security disability benefits?


When applying for Social Security disability benefits, or receiving SSD benefits, you may wonder how long you can receive the benefits that are important to you for your daily life. The Social Security Administration conducts reviews of all SSD recipients receiving disability benefits. The medical conditions of all recipients of SSD benefits are reviewed by the SSA from time to time.

When reviewing a recipient's medical condition, without strong proof that the recipient's medical condition has improved, allowing them to work, the disabled individual's benefits will continue. The frequency of review of a particular recipient's medical condition depends on how severe the medical condition is and how likely it is to improve. Once the disabled individual has been approved for the receipt of benefits, their award letter provides details as to when they should expect their first Social Security Administration review of their medical condition and eligibility for benefits.

There are three categories of review recipients may fall into. If the recipient's medical condition is expected to improve during a certain time frame, their first review will come six to 18 months after they begin receiving benefits. If improvement of the recipient's medical condition is possible, they can expect a review by the SSA approximately three years after they begin receiving benefits. If the recipient's medical condition is not expected to improve, they can expect a review by the SSA around five to seven years after the begin receiving benefits. There are different review periods based on a determination of possible temporary/permanent disability.

During the review process, the process and appeal rights, will be explained to the recipient. Information concerning their medical treatment will be requested by the SSA. The SSA will also inquire about any work the recipient may have performed, as changes in income can also impact eligibility for benefits. An SSA disability examiner and a doctor will review the recipient's medical file and request medical records. A special examination at the SSA's expense may be required.

If the SSA determines the recipient still has a qualifying disability, their benefits will continue. If a determination if made that the recipient no longer qualifies for disability benefits, their benefits will end three months after the decision is made. In that case, the recipient has the right to appeal the SSA's decision. There are many considerations to be aware of when receiving disability benefits to ensure you receive the benefits you should receive for as long as you need them.

Source: Social Security Administration, "What You Need to Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits," Accessed Oct. 9, 2016

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