What if My SSD was Terminated?

September 19th, 2018 by Attorney John Colvin

What if My SSD was Terminated?

Nothing’s as frightening as losing an income stream if you don’t have other money coming into your household and the bills are mounting. The situation can be especially stressful if your loss is a check from social security disability (SSD) that you make stretch from month to month.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) can and does suspend and terminate SSD, and it’s important to have a solid understanding of when and why this occurs. In fact, if you or a loved one gets SSD, you deserve to know more about this topic, even if your (or their) SSD check hasn’t stopped coming.

SSD Termination Facts

According to an exhaustive study published in a 2011 Social Security Bulletin publication, finding specific statistics about SSD benefits termination can be challenging. However, a 2016 report sent out by the SSA shows that as of the publication date, 820,372 workers had their SSD terminated that year. To give a sense of perspective, 10.2 million individuals received SSD in the same period, making the per-person termination rate about eight percent of the per-person payout rate.

Why does the SSA stop making payments to some people?  One big reason, beyond death of the SSD recipient, is that he or she reached full retirement age. When that happens, SSD ceases and the recipient gets converted to retired-worker benefits, etc. Another reason for SSD spouse benefits to stop can be in the case of a divorce. (Obviously, this is something to plan for in the case of divorcing parties with incoming SSD.)

Working can also affect SSD benefit termination. Someone who has been receiving SSD and recovers from the medical problem enough to enter the workforce can lose benefits eventually. And if the recipient simply decides to get a job even though the medical condition isn’t better, SSD may also terminate all benefits under certain conditions.

The Social Security Administration also periodically reviews the case of all SSD recipients by conducting what is called a “continuing disability review” process wherein the Administration orders updates from the treating doctors and other medical sources to determine whether or not an SSD recipient’s medical condition has improved or is no longer disabling under the regulations.  If SSA determines that the SSD recipient’s medical condition is no longer disabling, a cessation notice is sent to the recipient giving them notice of such planned action.

While the recipient is notified that they have 60 days to appeal the cessation determination, the most important part of the notice is that the recipient only has 10 days from the receipt of the cessation notice to file what is called a Notice of Continuation of Benefits with their local Social Security field office in order for benefits to continue while an appeal is pending before the Administration on the underlying cessation notice.

If a Notice of Continuation of Benefits is not filed within 10 days and good cause for late filing is not granted, then the SSD recipient’s benefits effectively stop while the matter is on appeal until a decision is made as to whether the benefits were properly terminated. Therefore, an SSD recipient could potentially be without necessary benefits while the cessation determination is on appeal.  However, if the SSD recipient is ultimately successful in overturning the cessation action by the Administration, the benefits are re-instituted with an award of back-pay for the time period the claim was on appeal in cases where the Claimant did not file a Notice of Continuation of Benefits when they appealed the cessation action.

SSD Case Review Pending? Talk to a Legal Representative.

The SSA routinely reviews all SSD recipient cases. If your medical condition has changed or If you have been in the process of trying to earn money through a part-time or full-time job, you may receive notice that your SSD is under review. This routinely happens; and if you’ve been in communication with someone from the SSA while you’re working, you probably won’t be surprised by it.

However, some people have their SSD benefits suspended without warning and they aren’t sure why. In those cases, it’s best to talk to a lawyer who focuses on SSD to find out what happened, especially if you feel that you haven’t met the criteria to lose your SSD benefits. The SSA’s regulations, rules, and guidelines may be online, but they are often confusing to understand. Allow a legal advocate to help you get a better understanding before making any decisions or taking action.

Have questions about SSD benefits for you or someone in your family? Contact John R. Colvin today for a free consultation.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama