Most people who qualify for disability benefits will continue to receive benefits for the duration of their disability, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can lose your disability benefits if:
- Your health improves enough for you to participate in substantial gainful employment
- Your health improves to the point where you no longer have a disability
The SSA notes that you are required to report any improvement in your condition or earning capacity. If you want to return to work, but are not sure whether you will be able to, you may qualify for Social Security “work incentives.” This will allow you to receive benefits while testing your ability to maintain employment.
If the SSA reviews your case and determines that you no longer qualify for benefits, you may stop receiving money. If this happens, you may choose to work with a lawyer who can help you get the compensation you need.
Filing an Appeal If You Lose Your Disability Benefits
If you depend on disability benefits to support yourself and your family, the loss of your benefits can be devastating. When you lose your benefits, or when your initial application for benefits is denied, you are entitled to file an appeal. Filing an appeal is time-sensitive, and your appeal must be filed within 60 days of receiving a denial.
The SSA notes that the appeals process is divided into four stages. You can be approved for benefits at any phase. You do not necessarily need to go through all four stages to be approved for benefits.
These stages are as follows:
You can initiate your appeal by requesting reconsideration for a medical or non-medical denial. At this appeal level, an objective reviewer who was not part of your application’s initial determination will re-examine your application, originally submitted evidence, and any new evidence you submit.
If you disagree with the decision made during reconsideration, you can continue your appeal by requesting a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
A Hearing by an ALJ
When you request a hearing by an ALJ, your application will be reviewed by an impartial ALJ who did not participate in your original claim. SSA administrators will schedule the hearing close to your home or via video. The ALJ will reach their own decision about your appeal. If your claim for benefits is still denied, you can request a review by the Appeals Council.
A Review by the Appeals Council
The Appeals Council will re-examine your application and appeal request. They may deny your request for a review if they believe the ALJ’s decision is correct. If they believe your appeal warrants review, they may reach a decision on their own or send your case to an ALJ.
Federal Court Review
The final step in the SSA review process is requesting a Federal Court review. A Federal Court review is actually a civil lawsuit you file in federal court. A Social Security lawyer will help you submit copies of your complaint and summons as required.
If you decide to work with a Social Security disability lawyer, they can help you request an appeal and follow the appeal’s step-by-step process. Just because you received a denial or termination of benefits does not mean that you are without options. Your legal team can help you build a case and file an appeal that helps you get the disability benefits you deserve.
Compile Information and Evidence that Support Your Appeal
If the SSA denies your claim or terminates your benefits, you may need to send them additional forms of information that assert the severity of your condition. Some of the records that the SSA may request include:
- Your birth certificate
- Your proof of U.S. citizenship
- Military discharge papers
- W-2 or self-employment taxes
- Medical records, reports, and recent test results
- Information on other benefits you receive or are applying for
The documents and evidence SSA officials request will tell them the information they need to know about you, your medical condition, your employment history, and the nature and severity of your disability. A lawyer can help you build a case that supports your need for disability benefits.
Do Not Give Up Your Benefits without a Fight
If your application for disability benefits is denied or you lose your disability benefits, you have the right to file an appeal. When you are ready to navigate the appeals process, George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers is ready to help.
Let us put our team to work for you so you can focus on getting better. We can handle everything else.