Disability benefits provide essential support when you're unable to work due to a serious medical condition. These benefits continue as long as you meet all eligibility requirements. When your condition begins to improve, your continued eligibility may be in question, but there are programs in place to help disability recipients transition back into the workforce.
Continuation of disability benefits depend on a number of things, including how substantially your condition improves as well as other factor that influence your employability, like age, work experience, job training, formal education, and overall skill set. As a person who receives disability however, you are required by law to keep the Social Security Administration (SSA) apprised of any changes that could affect your eligibility, including improvements in your medical condition as well as changes in marital status, living situation, and financial circumstances, among others.
Continuing Eligibility Reviews
Continuing eligibility reviews are conducted on a standard schedule for all individuals who receive disability, so the SSA will discover improvements in your medical condition eventually, even if you don't inform them of changes in a timely manner.
If the condition that qualified you for benefits is one that often improves with time, then your continuing eligibility review schedule may be every six, 12, or 18 months. If however your disability is one that is less likely to improve, then the SSA may only conduct a review every three or seven years.
The Consequences of Not Reporting Improvements
Failing to inform the SSA of improvements in your medical condition can lead to serious legal trouble and financial hardships for you in the long run. You could face fraud accusations or charges and/or be required to repay any disability benefits you received after your medical condition improved and you no longer met the eligibility criteria.
Transitioning Back Into the Workforce
If your condition begins to improve and you and your doctor believe you can potentially return to work, the SSA has programs in place to help you. Work incentive programs allow you to make work attempts without losing your benefits or your current eligibility for disability.
Consulting an Attorney
Working within the Social Security system can be tricky. After all, you've come to depend on your SSDI and/or SSI payments. The prospect of losing them can be scary, but any time you're unsure how to proceed, you can consult an attorney. He or she can advise you on the legal course of action as well as how and when you should approach the SSA with new information on your medical condition.