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When Can Social Security Disability Benefits Be Terminated?

After going through the oftentimes long process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), many people are worried about losing the benefits they fought so hard to receive.

When can the Social Security Administration (SSA) stop your SSDI benefits?

The answer lies in the eligibility definition for SSDI benefits. Typically, you are eligible for SSDI if:

  1. You have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability;
  2. You are unable to work for a year or more because of that disability; and
  3. You have worked in jobs covered by Social Security

The first two factors above are key in receiving and keeping SSDI benefits.

If your medical condition improves, the SSA can rule that you are no longer disabled. This can happen during your medical continuing disability reviews with the SSA. Generally, the SSA will review your case either every three years (for conditions that the SSA believes will improve) or every seven years (for conditions that the SSA believes will not improve) to determine if you can continue to receive benefits.

If you are able to work again, the SSA can also rule that you no longer qualify for SSD. In addition to a medical continuing disability review, the SSA can also perform a work continuing disability review to determine if you are eligible for monthly benefits. If the SSA believes you are engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), it will discontinue your benefits. For example, if you earn more than $1,010 a month, you likely no longer qualify for SSD.

Other reasons that SSDI can stop include:

  • Retirement: Once you reach retirement age, you are eligible for Social Security payments under the retirement benefits program
  • Incarceration: Your benefits will discontinue while you are incarcerated

To learn more about how the SSA can stop your disability benefits, speak with an experienced SSDI lawyer.

Source: Social Security Online, "Protection From Medical Continuing Disability Reviews," 2005.

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Coon Rapids, MN 55448
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