How Long Can You Be on Social Security Disability?

August 20, 2021 in

Injured workers have the option to apply for Social Security Disability benefits for long-term disabilities. Compensation under this program will typically last as long as you are disabled. However, certain circumstances can make you ineligible to continue receiving benefits.

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When Social Security Disability Benefits Will Stop

As long as you remain disabled under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition, you will continue to receive benefits. However, the following are some scenarios when SSDI benefits stop:

Retirement Age

Once you reach the retirement age of 65, your benefits will stop. At that point, you can switch over to retirement benefits. The number of your benefit payments will typically remain the same.

You Aren’t Disabled

If your condition improves and is no longer debilitating enough to prevent you from working, your benefits will end. When your condition improves, or you return to work, it is your responsibility to report the change.

Too High of Income

When receiving SSDI, there are limits on the amount of income you can earn, which for nonblind SSDI claimants is $1,310 per month. If you make over that amount, you are ineligible to receive benefits because you are considered to be working at a “substantial” level. SSDI recipients who are blind have an earned income limit of $2,190 per month.

Continuing Disability Reviews

SSDI cases are periodically reviewed to verify that recipients are still disabled. The frequency of the continuing disability reviews (CDR) will depend on the nature and severity of your medical condition. For example:

  • After 6 to 18 months, if your condition is expected to improve.
  • About every 3 years if the improvement is not predicted but is possible.
  • Every 7 years if the improvement is not expected.

The initial award notice will notify you of when the first medical review will occur. In addition, a CDR can be triggered if you return to work, you inform the SSA your condition has improved, the medical evidence indicates your condition improved, a third party notify the SSA that your treatment protocol is not being followed, or a new treatment for your condition has been introduced.

Trial Work Programs

SSDI recipients must notify the SSA if they become self-employed or take a job, no matter how little money is earned. However, claimants are entitled to a nine-month trial work period (TWP) during which they will still receive full SSDI benefits. During this time, the individual can make a conscious decision if working is right for them without risking their benefits. These nine months do not have to be consecutive, but once they are used, the trial work period is over.

The SSA will review the recipient’s income to determine if it is “substantial,” or over $1,310 a month for nonblind individuals. After the TWP, claimants who are still disabled can begin a 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) and still receive benefits in months that they do not earn money beyond the income limit.

Another work program available for SSDI recipients between the ages of 18 through 64 is Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program (Ticket). The Ticket Program connects people with disabilities with free employment services and support, such as training, to move toward financial independence and succeed at returning to work.

If you or a loved one are having trouble getting your social security disability benefits, contact LaBovick Law Group today to get the benefits you deserve.

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