As Tampa SSD lawyers, we know that when you first went through the process to apply for SSD benefits, you supplied the Social Security Administration (SSA) with financial records, medical records, and many other details outlining your situation.
As time goes on, if any of these details have changed, it could cause the SSA to modify (increase or decrease) the benefits you are getting. These changes can be varied, but usually, if your employment or your financial situation has changed, this can trigger a change in the benefits you receive.
If there has been a change in your ability to work and make a living for yourself and your family, your benefits, and possibly even your eligibility to receive benefits, may be re-evaluated. Your current assets and overall financial picture probably play the largest role in determining your benefits, but other things are considered by the SSA.
Some possible reasons that your SSD benefits can change or even be terminated are:
- Reaching Full Retirement Age: Once you do reach full retirement age, your SSD payments usually automatically convert to Social Security Retirement benefits.
- A Disabled Child Receiving Benefits: The benefits are automatically reviewed when the child reaches the age of 18. If the 18-year-old (now an adult) does not meet the adult standards of disability, then the benefits may be terminated.
- Death of a Beneficiary: The death of a disability benefit beneficiary will also automatically terminate the SSD benefits. In this case, however, if the beneficiary has a spouse or other dependents, then survivor benefits may be available.
- Significant Changes in Your Living Situation: If you, as the beneficiary, must enter a nursing home, assisted living facility, or even the hospital, then your SSD benefits and eligibility may change. The time you spend in the institution will affect this. If you are going to be in the hospital for 90 days or less, your benefits may not be affected.
- If You are Incarcerated: In this case, your SSD benefits may also be halted. There are situations that, even if you have a felony conviction that doesn’t include jail time, your benefits can stop. If you are incarcerated for more than 12 months, you would have to re-apply once you are released.
You must notify the SSD if any of the above-described conditions apply and the impact they have had on your life, immediately. The good news is that with the help of a Tampa Bay Social Security Disability attorney your case can, and almost always be, appealed. These SSD cases are detailed and vary from case to case. Do not gamble with your or your family’s future and get the professional advice and guidance you need.
Can My SSD Payments Be Taken Away?
It is a rarity that your SSD benefits are taken away due to your medical improvement. If your income increases and/or you have too many assets, then your benefits can be terminated.
Some of the most common reasons your benefits may be taken away completely are:
- For Adults: if the individual has had medical improvement, as it relates to his or her ability to work, and the impairments no longer result in “marked” or “severe” restrictions or functional limitations.
- For Children: There has been significant medical improvement, and the child’s disability no longer severely affects the minor or results in restrictions or functional limitations.
- Working Too Many Hours: A disability prevents you from working at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level as defined for SSD requirements. For 2021, this means earning $1,310 a month or more.
Keep in mind that every three years, you, as an SSD recipient, must undergo a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). This is conducted by the SSA and evaluates whether you still meet the eligibility requirements for continuing your benefits. This review also determines whether the recipient has had sufficient improvement so that they can return to work.
These reviews are crucial to your continued benefits, and you should be represented with expertise and professionalism. Your Social Security disability lawyers are there to help you navigate this complex legal process and try to ensure your financial ability to recover and provide for your family.
How Do I Appeal if My SSD Benefits Have Decreased or Stopped?
Social Security wants to make sure that every decision it makes about your disability benefits is correct. This is true during the initial application process and the reviews. The administration usually considers all the information in your case, in detail, before it makes any decisions that either affect your eligibility or your benefit amount. When a decision is made on your claim, you will receive a letter explaining the decision.
If you do not agree with the decision, you can absolutely appeal. In other words, ask the SSA to look at your case again. When you ask for an appeal, the administration will look at the entire decision, even those parts that were in your favor. If the decision was wrong, it will be changed.
If your SSD benefits have been decreased or denied for medical or non-medical reasons, you and your SSD lawyers should request an appeal. This request must be in writing and received within 60 days of the date you receive the letter containing the SSA’s decision.
There are a few levels of appeal, such as:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge
- Review by the Appeals Council
- A federal court review
The SSA appeals process, once again, can be a complex legal maze, and your personal injury attorney, specializing in Social Security Disability law, will be invaluable to you in this process.
These benefits are probably vital to your life and your family’s financial stability. Your SSD attorney will make sure that your case is properly handled and presented to the SSA so that you have the best chance to retain the benefits you deserve.