Social Security Disability: Continuing Disability Reviews

Sara Toor, M.A. & Cameron Lindahl, M.S. 

A Continuing Disability Review is referred to as a CDR. The Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically reviews cases of Social Security Disability beneficiaries to analyze a beneficiary’s disability or blindness to decide if a beneficiary is still determined disabled and unable to work.

A Continuing Disability Review conducted by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is required by law to be completed about every 3 years or so. If the Social Security Administration (SSA) believes that a beneficiary’s condition may improve sooner than 3 years then a CDR would be conducted sooner. If a beneficiary’s condition is not expected to improve, his/her case will still be reviewed; however, not every 3 years.

In addition to reviewing a beneficiary’s condition, the Social Security Administration (SSA) also analyzes income, resources, assets, and living arrangements to make sure that a beneficiary still meets the specific non-medical requirements for benefits. This review is known as a redetermination.

What Occurs During a Review?
An individual will receive a letter in the mail requesting that he/she come to the indicated Social Security Office. During the review, specific questions pertaining to the beneficiary’s condition such as how it affects him/her and whether the condition has improved. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will request an individual to bring doctor’s names, addresses, phone numbers, patient records numbers, and medical sources that rendered treatment to the individual for his/her condition since the last time the Social Security Administration (SSA) contacted the beneficiary.

If a beneficiary worked since applying for disability benefits or since the last review conducted, information pertaining to the dates worked, pay/earnings received, and the specific kind of work performed would need to be provided as well.

Who Makes the Final Decision?
An individual’s case is sent to Disability Determination Services in the individual’s specific state. This agency makes disability decisions for Social Security. A disability examiner will request medical reports from the individual’s doctors and other medical sources where treatment was provided.

Both a disability examiner and medical consultant work together to analyze and review all the information provided for an individual’s case before making a final decision. The final decision is made based on information obtained from an individual’s doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources. If current or accurate information is not provided an individual may be aside to have a special exam at no cost to the individual. If this is needed, an individual will be notified via writing of when and where to go to have the examination completed.

What Conditions Would Cause Benefits to be Discontinued?
Cash payment benefits would be discontinued if evidence illustrates that an individual’s medical condition has improved and he/she is able to return to work regularly.

Do Children Have a Continuing Disability Review?
Just as adult beneficiaries, if the Social Security Administration (SSA) expects that a child’s condition may improve a CDR is conducted about every 3 years as well. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) performs a CDR for a child beneficiary, the Social Security Administration (SSA) requests the child’s representative payee, such as a parent or guardian, to provide documentation that the child beneficiary is and has been receiving medically necessary treatment for the child’s condition.

During the month before the month a child turns 18 years of age, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will perform a redetermination on whether the child is disabled or not. It is important to note that at this time during the redetermination process, the eligibility rules/requirements used for adults who file new Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit applications will be applied.

If you have further questions regarding your disability benefits and maintaining eligibility please reach out and seek services from an attorney or contact your local Social Security Administration Office. In addition, we recommend reading our other blog posts titled, “My Child Receives SSI and is About to Turn 18 years old, What Do I Need to Know,” “How Does the Social Security Administration Define Disability,” and “Supplemental Security Income & Redeterminations,” to gather more information.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided by CPT is for informational purposes only and is intended to be used as a non-legal guide prior to consultation with an attorney familiar with your specific legal situation. CPT is not engaged in the practice of law or in rendering legal advice or counsel. No such legal advice or counseling is either expressly or impliedly intended. This form is not a substitute for the advice or counsel of an attorney. If you require legal advice, you should seek the services of an attorney. © 2017 CPT All rights reserved.

Further Reading/Sources:

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10068.pdf

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-cdrs-ussi.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-repayee-ussi.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-redets-ussi.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-disable-ussi.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-child-ussi.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm#disabled-adult

https://www.cpttrust.org/blog/how-does-the-social-security-administration-define-disability

https://www.cpttrust.org/blog/supplemental-security-income-redeterminations