Periodically the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your disability benefit case. If they decide you are no longer disabled, then your disability payments will cease.
What Are My Options?
If you believe that you are still disabled and entitled to disability benefits, you have two choices. Your first option is re-applying. Your second option is appealing the SSA decision.
Should I Re-Apply?
You can file a new disability claim if you disagree with the SSA decision. However, the SSA recommends that you appeal rather than re-apply. Their reasons include:
- You may lose some benefits or not qualify for benefits
- Your application may be denied for the same reasons your benefits were halted
- Unlike the appeals process, you cannot ask for payments to continue while awaiting a decision
Should I Appeal the Decision?
When you appeal, the SSA will review their entire decision to check for errors. About half of all disability appeals are ruled in favor of the disabled party. You have 65 days from the date on the letter to notify the SSA in writing of your choice to appeal the decision. There are four levels of appeals beginning with Reconsideration and ending with Federal Court:
- Reconsideration – Local Social Security officers review your claim
- Hearing – Administrative judge independently reviews your claim
- Review by the Appeals Council – Council reviews your claim, decision is final
- Federal Court – Sue the Social Security Administration in Federal Court
May I Continue Receiving Payments while Appealing?
Yes, but you must notify the SSA in writing within 10 days of receiving their letter. Your payments will continue until a decision on your appeal is issued. For each time you appeal a decision, you must notify the SSA of your intent to appeal and request a continuation of benefits. If you lose the final appeal, you may be asked to pay some or all the money back.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
A lawyer experienced in Social Security benefits and regulations can help you decide if you should appeal, re-apply or accept the decision. If you decide to appeal a decision you must act quickly because of strict timeframes. An government attorney may assist you in preparing an appeal as well as representing you at proceedings.