What Happens at a Disability Benefits Review in Pennsylvania?
If you live in Pennsylvania and are receiving Social Security Disability benefits, either through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you understand how challenging a complex the process is. Obtaining your benefits required a significant amount of time, energy, and documentation.
Unfortunately, obtaining benefits is not the end of the process. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required to periodically review every disability case. This process is known as a continuing disability review (CDR). If, during this review, the SSA determines that your impairment has improved and you are able to work, your benefits could be terminated, suspended, or reduced.
For many receiving SSDI or SSI benefits, the thought of a CDR is unnerving. After the long struggle to obtain benefits, it seems unfair to have to keep fighting. Fortunately, it is much more difficult for the SSA to terminate benefits than deny an initial application. Nonetheless, our experienced Pennsylvania Social Security Disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates are here to help you through the process. Call (215) 515-2954 if you have a pending CDR, are applying for benefits, or need to appeal a denial.
What is a CDR in Pennsylvania?
A continuing disability review is a process where the SSA will reexamine your medical condition to determine if your disability still prohibits you from working. In other words, the SSA wants to see if you still qualify for benefits.
As the name implies, during the CDR, the Social Security Administration will review your information and medical evidence regarding your disability. This review usually occurs every three years unless your condition is expected to improve sooner. However, if your medical condition is not expected to improve, the CDR could be conducted every seven years. Judges also have the authority to set alternative timelines when awarding benefits.
Disability Update Report
If the SSA does not expect your condition to improve, it will send you a Disability Update Report when it is time to review your benefits claim. This report is a short two-page document that you must complete and return to the SSA.
Continuing Disability Review Report
On the other hand, if there is some expectation that your condition could improve, you will likely be sent the more detailed and complicated Continuing Disability Review Report. This document is ten pages in length.
In this report, the Social Security Administration will request information about your medical condition and treatment. For example, you will be asked whether you have seen your doctor or been hospitalized within the previous year. Additionally, questions may inquire if you have undergone any medical tests or recent evaluations. The SSA will also want to know if you have been working.
The Continuing Disability Review Report might require more work than answering some questions. The SSA might require updated medical documentation related to the last twelve months. While these requests are generally limited to the previous year, the SSA could request medical evidence dating back to when your benefits were initially approved. Our Philadelphia disability benefits attorneys will be able to help you gather the required documentation.
The SSA’s review is not restricted to your medical history or condition. You could also be asked questions about your current living arrangements and income. The SSA wants to ensure you also meet the other requirements of whatever program governs your disability benefits.
Preparing for a Continuing Disability Review in Pennsylvania
If you are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits, you should be aware that a review is coming. There are steps you could take to prepare for this required part of the process.
First, you should keep copies of every document you send to the SSA. Having these copies will make completing the review much easier. Additionally, if any of your original paperwork is misplaced or lost by the SSA, it is good to have a backup. If you were originally working with our Pennsylvania disability lawyers, our office should have copies of all relevant documents in your file.
As with every disability application, medical evidence is key. Therefore, you must continue to receive regular medical treatment and maintain working relationships with your doctor or doctors. You want to ensure you keep a detailed list of all medical appointments, tests, and treatments. It is also important to know how to get copies of your records if necessary. If you stop all medical treatments or miss doctor’s appointments after obtaining benefits, the SSA could use the lack of information to suspend or terminate your benefits.
You should also notify the SSA if you move or otherwise change mailing addresses. If the SSA does not know how to contact you, you might not receive your CDR notice. Remember, failing to complete a review could result in your benefits being denied.
What To Do When You Receive Your CDR Notice in Pennsylvania
The first thing is not to worry. The SSA is not trying to deny your benefits. However, you still have to demonstrate that your medical impairment prevents you from working and that there have been no other changes that could threaten your benefits.
If you are concerned or do not understand what is required, contact our Bucks County Social Security Disability attorneys as soon as possible. Our office will assist you in completing the review. We will also help you gather the necessary medical evidence and documentation to support your claim. The SSA could deny your benefits if you fail to complete the forms accurately or believe you are not cooperating with the process.
Our Pennsylvania Social Security Disability Lawyers Will Help You With Your Continuing Disability Review
A continuing disability review is part of the benefits process. The Social Security Administration has a responsibility to ensure that benefits are only being paid to deserving individuals. The experienced West Chester disability lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates know that a CDR is intimidating. You do not have to handle this process alone. Call (215) 515-2954 to discuss preparing for your CDR.