After you are approved for Social Security disability benefits, it is tempting to believe that you can stop worrying about the status of your case. You’ve been approved, you are receiving your disability benefits, and you can now focus on living your life and dealing with your disabling condition. To an extent, you are correct, but even though your case has been approved, it is a mistake to assume that you will continue to be approved for benefits when you case is reviewed if you have not followed these steps:
- Continue to see your doctors and continue your medical treatment. Regardless of whether your doctors’ visits and treatments are helping your condition, you should continue to see them regularly and to follow their recommendations. This will ensure that you have medical proof that your disability is ongoing and severe. When your case is reviewed, Social Security needs proof that you are still disabled, and if you have not kept up with your medical visits you may have to rely on an examination by a Social Security evaluation specialist who does not know you, your medical history, or your medical condition.
- Keep in touch with Social Security. If your circumstances change, notify the Social Security Administration. You need to report: changes to your medical condition(s), a change of address, conviction of a crime, name changes, change of marital status, and if you have been caring for a disability benefit recipient that has died.
- If your benefits are stopped by SSA, take action. If SSA reviews your case and denies you further benefits, you have the right to appeal, and you must do so immediately. You have only 10 days after receiving notice that your disability benefits are being stopped to appeal the decision in order to keep your disability benefits during the appeals process. You have 60 days to file an appeal, but you will lose your benefits if you do not appeal within 10 days.
If you are involved in a Social Security appeals process, hire a qualified Social Security disability attorney. Do not try to handle the appeals process on your own!
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, your case will be reviewed every three to seven years. The case review agent will confirm that your condition and your financial situation have not improved. Most case reviews are uncomplicated and end up confirming the recipient’s continuing need for benefits. To ensure that your case review goes smoothly keep your medical records up to date, stay in contact with the Social Security Administration, and report all changes in your situation promptly and honestly.