Continuing Disability Reviews

By: Charles D. Hankey

We often get calls from clients who won their cases 3-7 years ago and are now up for a Continuing Disability Review (CDR). A CDR is a re-evaluation by Social Security (SSA). SSA cannot cut off benefits without finding that a person has improved to the point where they are now able to “engage in substantial gainful activity” (work).

During the CDR SSA compares your medical condition with your condition on the date of your favorable decision to see if you have gotten better. They will look at your medical records to see if there is a documented improvement in your condition. If you have new impairments, SSA must consider them too.

Once review is completed, you will get a favorable or unfavorable decision. If you get an unfavorable decision you can request that your benefits continue but you must request that within 10 days of the denial. If your appeal is unsuccessful you will have to pay back the benefits.

Social Security is beginning to conduct CDRs more frequently since the 2010-2011 budget increased funding for them by 9%. When you were granted benefits you were put in a category which will determine how often they review your case:

  1. Medical improvement not expected – Social Security reviews these cases approximately once every 5-7 years.
  2. Medical improvement possible – Social Security reviews these cases approximately once every 3 years.
  3. Medical improvement expected – Social Security reviews these cases every 6-18 months.

If you get an unfavorable decision from a CDR, call us for help. If you are still as sick or sicker than you were when you won and you are going to your doctor regularly, chances are you have nothing to worry about. Do not go to a review hearing without a representative, such as our law office.