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Once I Am Approved, Will I Continue to Receive Disability Benefits Forever?

You have just been approved for Social Security Disability benefits and you finally let out a long sigh of relief. You have probably been through the ordeal of a Social Security Disability appeal and couldn’t be happier that the process is finally over. The question on your mind now is probably whether or not you will continue to receive those Social Security Disability payments indefinitely, or if they will stop at some point in the future. The answer isn’t the same for all Social Security Disability recipients.

When you are awarded Social Security Disability benefits, your case is categorized into one of three categories including Medical Improvement Expected (MIE), Medical Improvement Possible (MIP) or Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE). Which of these categories your particular case falls into depends on when you will be receiving continuing eligibility reviews and how long your Social Security Disability benefits will continue.

If your case is labeled as MIE that means the SSA expects that your condition will improve and you will be given a continuing eligibility review in approximately six to eighteen months. If during that review it is determined that your condition has improved and you are able to return to work, your benefits will be discontinued. If your condition has not improved at the time of your review, your Social Security Disability payments will continue and you will receive another review in another six to eighteen months.

If your case is labeled as MIP, that means the SSA believes that it is possible that your condition will improve but is not likely. In this case, you will be given a continuing eligibility review in approximately two to five years. If, at the time of this review, your condition has improved and you are able to return to work, your benefits will stop. If you are unable to return to work and your condition has not improved, then you will continue to receive Social Security Disability payments and will be up for review again in another 2 to 5 years.

If your case is labeled as MINE that means that the SSA does not think your condition will ever improve. You will still undergo continuing eligibility reviews, but those reviews will be conducted approximately every 5 to 7 years. As long as your condition does not improve, you will continue to receive Social Security Disability benefits until you reach retirement age, at which point your disability benefits will convert over to Social Security Retirement benefits.

It is important to note that even if the SSA’s continuing eligibility review determines that you are able to return to work, you can appeal the decision. During this appeal you will be able to continue receiving your monthly Social Security Disability benefit payment. However, if the appeal results in the SSA determining that there was no validity to the appeal and you are denied, you may have to pay back the money you received from the SSA while you were undergoing the appeal process.

For those who suffer from severe and permanent disabilities, there is no “expiration date” set on your Social Security Disability payments. As long as you remain disabled, you will continue to receive your disability payments until you reach retirement age. At that point benefits convert to retirement benefits and are payable until death.