Common Reasons That SSDI Is Terminated
Aug. 17, 2023
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), is available for those who become physically or mentally incapacitated and can no longer work the jobs they had. There are a number of qualifications and requirements to meet in order to receive these funds.
After you get your benefits, the SSA will monitor your earnings and your mental and physical condition to determine if those benefits should be continued. In other words, your SSDI benefits are not automatically guaranteed. The wheels of the SSDI administrative process can take months, but termination is a clear possibility, even with advanced warning.
If you are facing SSDI termination, or have already been terminated, in or around Raleigh, North Carolina, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Contact me at Lloyd King Law Firm, PLLC to receive help navigating this difficult time. I am a former Social Security Disability Judge who understands how the SSDI system operates. I can help you challenge the pending or already-done decision and mount an appeal. If you live anywhere in Raleigh, Roanoke Rapids, Fayetteville, Greensboro, or elsewhere in North Carolina, set up a consultation with me today.
The SSDI Approval Process
To understand factors that can play into a decision to terminate your SSDI benefits, it’s useful to look at the SSA’s initial approval process. According to their own website, the SSA, after determining you have enough work credits, uses five questions to determine your eligibility:
IS THE APPLICANT WORKING? If you are working and average more than $1,470 a month ($2,460 if blind), you cannot be deemed to have a disability.
IS THE APPLICANT’S CONDITION SEVERE? Your condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work-related activities—such as lifting, standing, walking, sitting, or remembering—for at least 12 months. If not, you don’t have a qualifying disability.
IS THE APPLICANT’S CONDITION FOUND IN THE SSA LIST OF DISABLING CONDITIONS? The SSA maintains a “Blue Book” of qualifying disabilities. If yours isn’t listed, it must be shown to be as severe as those on the list to qualify you for SSDI.
CAN THE APPLICANT DO THE WORK DONE PREVIOUSLY? The SSA will evaluate whether your medical condition prevents you from doing your most previous work. If it doesn’t, then you won’t qualify.
CAN THE APPLICANT DO ANY OTHER TYPE OF WORK? The SSA will consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and any transferable skills you may have. If it determines there is another job you can do with your condition, it can deny your SSDI claim.
Reasons for Termination of Benefits
The primary reason for the termination of SSDI benefits is returning to work. The SSA monitors Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)—work, in other words—and if in any month you earn more than $1,050, the SSA will assign you what is called a Trial Work Period (TWP). The TWP allows you to continue receiving benefits while earning over that limit, but you get only nine TWPs in a 60-month period. When the nine are exhausted, your benefits will stop once you exceed the SGA threshold of $1,470 a month.
Other reasons for termination could include:
MEDICAL IMPROVEMENT: Typically, the SSA reviews your medical condition every three years, sometimes seven years if you’re over 50 years of age. This is a process known as Continuing Disability Review (CDR). A disability claims examiner will review your medical records—which you must provide—to determine if there has been enough improvement that shows you can return to work. If the CDR shows that you can, your benefits will stop.
REACHING RETIREMENT AGE: When you reach retirement age, your SSDI will convert to retirement benefits under Social Security.
INCARCERATION: Should you be convicted of a crime and assigned to a penal institution, your SSDI will terminate.
Appealing a Cessation of Benefits
If your benefits have been terminated, or are about to be terminated, you can appeal for a hearing before a Hearing Officer. This stage of the appeals process is fairly informal, and you are allowed to testify on your condition, present additional evidence, and even call witnesses to testify to your condition.
If your Hearing Officer agrees with the decision to cease benefits, then you have 60 days to appeal for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You have 10 days from the Hearing Officer’s decision to request that benefits be continued while you await a hearing before an ALJ.
Let My Experience Guide You
No one should have to go through this complex legal process alone. If you’re facing a loss of benefits, or already have reached that point, it’s important to get in touch with skilled legal counsel. Contact me at Lloyd King Law Firm, PLLC. After serving eight years as a Disability Judge for the SSA, I can help you navigate the appeals process and strive to protect your rights in Raleigh and throughout North Carolina.