How Long Can You Stay on Social Security Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania?

The application process for Social Security Disability benefits in Pennsylvania is long, frustrating, and difficult. Many people assume that once they have been approved and are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, they will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. This is not always the case.

Most people who are receiving disability benefits will do so until they reach retirement age. At that point, their benefits will simply change to Social Security Retirement benefits. However, there are several reasons why an individual’s benefits could be terminated or suspended, including improvement in their condition, returning to work, or incarceration. If you believe your benefits have been wrongfully terminated, contact our Philadelphia disability lawyers.

Our team of dedicated lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates want to help our clients receive the benefits they need. We also want you to continue to receive those benefits. There are situations where your conduct or inaction could result in losing your disability benefits. If you have lost your benefits, believe you will, or are applying for benefits for the first time, call our law offices at (215) 515-2954.

Why Social Security Disability Benefits End in Pennsylvania

Just because your disability benefits have been approved does not mean you will receive them indefinitely. There are numerous reasons why the Social Security Administration (SSA) could terminate your benefits.

Improved Medical Condition

The most common reason people lose their disability benefits is that their medical condition improves. The SSA reviews disability benefits on a regular basis. When your initial benefits are approved, you will be informed when your case will be reviewed. Known as Continuing Disability Reviews, these reviews are usually scheduled every eighteen months, every three years, or every seven years, depending on the severity of your medical condition and the likelihood it could improve. If you have received a notice, contact our Pennsylvania disability lawyers.

For cases reviewed every seven years, a benefits recipient will receive a three-page questionnaire to complete and return. For cases reviewed on a three-year basis, you will receive a more comprehensive ten-page report to complete. If the responses on your three-page report are flagged or it appears your condition might have improved, you could be required to complete the longer report. Failure to comply with a Continuing Disability Review could result in the suspension of your benefits. It is also important to continue any medical treatment while you are receiving benefits. Recipients who cannot produce current medical evidence could lose their monthly payments.


You could lose your disability benefits if you are convicted of a crime and sentenced to prison. Social Security benefits will be stopped if you are in jail for thirty days or more. However, incarceration does not mean you will lose your benefits permanently. Once you have been released, your benefits will resume.

Return to Work

Disability benefits are available for people who are unable to work. If you return to the workforce and earn an income above the SSA’s substantial gainful activity (SGA), your benefits will be terminated. Currently, the SGA amount is $1,310.

Trial Work Programs in Pennsylvania

If your condition has improved and you believe you could return to the workforce, you might not want to risk losing your benefits. What if you try to work, lose your benefits, and are not able to continue. If you are receiving SSDI, there is a program available to allow people to test the waters.

Through the trial work program, you are permitted to work for nine months. After nine months, the SSA will decide if you are engaging in SGA. The nine months of work do not have to be consecutive. Once you have completed the nine-month trial work period, you will still be eligible for disability benefits over the following thirty-six months for any month you failed to earn $1,310. Anyone considering or feeling ready to return to work should call our Allentown disability attorneys.

Keeping Your Social Security Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania

Most people who remain disabled should keep their disability benefits until they reach retirement age. Once you reach your official retirement age, your Social Security Disability benefits will switch to Social Security Retirement benefits. However, there are steps you could take to help ensure your benefits continue until you reach retirement age.

You also need to continue to address your condition. What does this mean? It means to continue to schedule and attend regular doctor’s visits. You want to continue to document that you are doing everything possible to improve your condition and that your impairment still adversely impacts your ability to work. When the SSA sends you a Continuing Disability Review, you want to have medical documentation available that shows your condition still limits what you can do.

When you receive a Continuing Disability Review notice, reply promptly, ensuring that you provide complete and accurate information. If you ignore it or do not respond, you could lose your benefits. The SSA might schedule a medical examination with an independent doctor. You must attend this examination. Our Delaware County (Delco) disability attorneys are available to assist you in completing your review and gathering any medical documentation you might require to show you are still disabled.

Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Attorneys Provide Free Consultations

The Social Security Disability benefits process is designed to eliminate frivolous claims. In doing so, it makes it difficult for people who are disabled to qualify for benefits. The SSA continues this process even after individuals are reviewed. To keep your benefits, you must comply with any requests from the SSA. If you have lost your benefits or believe you might in the near future, contact our Lehigh County disability lawyers immediately. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-2954.

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