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How Long Does A Social Security Review Take?
When you submit an initial application for Social Security disability, it goes through a review process to determine whether you are disabled and eligible to receive benefits. Once you receive notification of approval and start getting monthly payments, the Social Security Administration conducts periodic reviews to determine whether you remain eligible to continue receiving benefits either through the Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, and Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, programs. Several factors can affect how long a Social Security disability review can take.
Review Associated With An Application For Disability Benefits
Your initial application for Social Security disability goes through a review process to determine whether or not you are disabled and unable to work. The local Social Security office where your application was submitted reviews it to determine that you meet non-medical qualifying criteria, including having an eligible work history for SSDI or having limited income and resources when applying for SSI.
The application goes from the local Social Security office to one of the state agencies referred to as Disability Determination Services. The people at DDS contact doctors and other medical providers that treated you to obtain records and other evidence needed to make a decision about your medical condition and whether or not you are disabled within the definition used by Social Security.
The Social Security disability review conducted as part of the application process generally takes anywhere from three to five months. However, the exact length of time it takes in each case depends on how easy or difficult it is for the DDS to obtain the medical records needed to make a decision. Having a Social Security disability lawyer helping to prepare and submit your application for benefits may expedite the process by knowing what information to provide along with the application to support your claim for benefits.
Continuing Disability Reviews
Just because your application for SSI or SSDI was approved, and you have been receiving monthly payments, does not mean you are no longer subject to a Social Security disability review. You may receive a letter telling you that Social Security has chosen your claim for review.
If you get such a letter, let your SSD lawyer know right away. It may only be routine, but your lawyer can help by ensuring that whatever evidence is available supporting your claim for benefits gets submitted to Social Security.
As a general rule, reviews may be scheduled as follows:
- If you have a medical condition that is expected to improve, you may receive a letter advising you of a medical review within six to 18 months after your application for benefits was approved.
- If your medical condition may improve, but how long it may take for that to happen cannot be predicted, your case must be reviewed at three-year intervals to comply with federal law.
- For medical conditions that are not expected to improve over time, you may receive notice of a medical review every five to seven years.
Children receiving SSI benefits may have their claims reviewed when they reach 18 years of age, which is the age at which Social Security considers them as being adults. Reviews are handled through the DDS in your state in much the same way as occurred during the initial application process.
Continuing Disability Review Process
The DDS handling your continuing disability review begins by requesting information about your medical condition, including the names and addresses of all doctors and medical facilities providing treatment to you. You also will be asked to provide information about work you have engaged in since your initial application for benefits or last continuing disability review.
Your SSDI lawyer should handle the review for you to ensure that all information provided is accurate, complete, and current. Your lawyer will provide the DDS with medical records supporting your claim to expedite the process and increase the chances of a favorable decision.
The DDS decides whether your medical condition has improved and whether the improvement permits you to return to work. Consideration is given to the type of work that you previously engaged in and whether the requirements of that type of work can be met based on your current medical condition.
It is difficult to estimate how long the review process can take. Your SSI lawyer can help move the process along by contacting your doctors and other health care providers to expedite medical records being provided to the DDS.
Working With A Social Security Disability Lawyer
When you have an SSD lawyer from MJ Ellis Disability Law representing you during a review, immediate action can be taken to challenge an adverse determination that affects your benefits. You only have 60 days to appeal an adverse decision, so contact us today for a free consultation and claim review.