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What You Need To Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits
Fewer than a quarter of the people seeking Social Security disability benefits receive approval on their initial application. For those whose claims for benefits are denied, they have the right to challenge it in a multilevel appeal process available through Social Security.
Approval for benefits, whether at the application or appeal stages, brings with it responsibilities that you must meet and questions about how various aspects of the two disability programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. A Social Security disability lawyer at MJ Ellis Disability Law is an excellent source of information about disability benefits, including questions you may have about the responsibilities you have when you start to get benefits. The following information may be of use to enhance your understanding of what to expect when you get SSDI or SSI benefits.
Periodic continuing disability review
The disability that allowed you to qualify for Social Security disability benefits must continue for you to remain eligible for benefits through either SSDI or SSI. Social Security conducts periodic reviews of your medical impairment or impairments to determine that you continue to be disabled within the definition used by the SSA.
These continuing disability reviews occur for both the SSI and SSDI programs, but the timing of the review is different for each of them. If you receive SSI benefits, expect a continuing disability review every three years. When improvement in a person’s medical condition is not anticipated, the time between reviews may be extended to as long as seven years.
A disability review for someone receiving SSI benefits includes an examination of the person’s nonmedical eligibility. Social Security looks at living arrangements and income and resources to determine that the person continues to be eligible for benefits through the program.
If you receive benefits through SSDI, expect the first disability review to occur anytime from six to 18 months after the onset of your disability and about every three years thereafter. However, if improvement in the medical condition causing you to be disabled is not anticipated, the review may only occur once every seven years.
Obligation to report changes that may affect benefits
When you get Social Security disability benefits, you have an obligation to report changes that may affect your benefits. The following are some of the things you need to report when getting a Social Security disability:
- Return to work while receiving SSDI.
- Apply for or receive workers’ compensation or other types of disability benefits
- Change your address or phone number.
- Get married or divorced.
- Change of name, as may occur through marriage or divorce.
- Existence of an outstanding felony arrest warrant.
- Conviction of a crime resulting in confinement.
- Violation of parole or probation conditions.
An SSD lawyer can help when you are unsure whether changes in your life must be reported to Social Security.
Working while you get disability benefits
If you want to see whether your medical condition will allow you to return to work, Social Security has special rules allowing you to do so without jeopardizing your benefits. The work incentives differ depending on whether you get benefits through SSDI or SSI.
The work incentives for someone getting SSDI payments include a trial work period lasting for up to nine months. You may work during the trial period and earn as much as you want without affecting the payments you get each month from SSDI. The nine months of the trial period need not be consecutive, but you have only 60 months to use them.
An extended period of eligibility of up to 36 months begins after the trial period. Your benefits will not be affected as long as your monthly earnings are not substantial. Social Security considers monthly earnings over $1,310 in 2021 to be substantial. The monthly amount changes each year. Someone who is blind can earn up to $2,190 a month.
If you have substantial earnings, you cannot continue to receive SSDI benefits. However, because you were working during an extended period of eligibility, you receive the benefit of expedited reinstatement for up to five years in the event your medical condition prevents you from continuing to work and receive substantial earnings.
The work incentives for SSI allow you to continue receiving benefits as long as your earnings along with other income you receive do not exceed income limits for the program. SSI income limits differ depending on the state where you live, but an SSI lawyer can help should you decide that you want to attempt going back to work.
Learn more from a Social Security disability lawyer
Your best source for accurate information about Social Security disability is a consultation with an SSD lawyer at MJ Ellis Disability Law. Contact them today for a free consultation.