With all the noise about Social Security disability reform being generated in Washington and elsewhere, especially among those running for re-election, reports of Social Security disability fraud in the millions of dollars, and with a substantial increase in funds set aside to fund case reviews and investigations, Social Security disability recipients may feel anxious about the status of their cases and the security of their disability payments. While those payments are modest, they often make all the difference to those who receive them, and recipients may be fearful that those payments are now in jeopardy.
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, you can take a pro-active role in your disability case. If you are or have been represented by a Social Security professional, such as a Social Security disability attorney or other professional, contact that person with your concerns. Because your Social Security disability attorney or other professional helped you assemble and prepare the documents that you presented at your successful disability benefits hearing, he or she can be a good resource for information and can provide you with suggestions with regard to passing any possible case status review with flying colors.
In the meantime, try to avoid these common mistakes made by SSI or SSDI recipients once their benefits are approved:
- They stop seeing their doctors. Even though you may feel your case is hopeless, and even though you have not made any progress in your condition, you must continue to see your doctors. The Social Security Administration will want medical proof that you have not recovered from your disability and if you haven’t made regular visits to your doctors you cannot provide that proof.
- They don’t notify the agency about changes in their circumstances. Not only does the Social Security Administration want to know if the nature of your disabling condition changes, you are required to notify them about numerous possible changes in your circumstances. If you move, marry, take a job, lose custody of the child who is receiving SSI benefits, run afoul of the law, or change your name, you must notify the agency. For a more complete list of what you must report to the Social Security Administration, visit the SSA website.
- They do not take timely action if their benefits are stopped. If, after the case status review, the Social Security Administration denies you future disability benefits, you have the right to appeal this decision. You must do so promptly, however. If you appeal the decision within 10 days of the notice your disability benefits will continue during the appeals process. In any event, the window for filing an appeal is 60 days. Be sure to contact a qualified Social Security disability lawyer to help you with your appeal.
Most case status reviews simply confirm the recipient’s ongoing need to get disability benefits. If you are able to provide medical proof that your condition has not improved and if you are diligent about staying in contact with the agency as required, your review should simply confirm your right to continuing disability benefits.