When you’re receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) payments, you may think your benefits last forever without any further communication with the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, that’s not the case.
The experienced disability lawyer at The Law Offices of Michael Hartup has put together this guide to help you see how long Social Security Disability benefits last.
How do Social Security Disability benefits work?
Social Security Disability benefits, also called Social Security Disability Insurance, are monthly payments given to qualifying workers who are disabled, and/or their families. These payments are distributed by the SSA.
To qualify for SSD payments, you must have earned a certain number of work credits by working a certain number of years. You must have a medical condition that meets SSA’s definition of disability as well.
When do SSD payments start?
Once you’ve been approved by the SSA and qualify for benefits, your payments usually begin with your sixth full month of disability.
Under the law, your payments can’t begin until you’ve been disabled for at least five full months. Your notice of approval for disability benefits payment will include a date for when your payments start.
How are SSD payments paid?
Your Social Security benefits are paid each month. The exact date you’re paid generally depends on the birth date of the person who qualified.
For example, if you receive benefits as a worker who is disabled, your payments will be determined by your birth date. If you receive benefits as a spouse, your payments will be determined by your spouse’s birth date.
If you applied for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, you receive your payments electronically. The SSA uses direct deposit or the Direct Express card program. Checks are also mailed if you aren’t using electronic payments.
How long do my SSD benefits last?
Generally, your disability benefits will remain in effect for as long as you are disabled and you can’t work. However, that doesn’t mean they last indefinitely.
What changes do I have to report to the SSA?
If your health improves, if you go back to work, or if you experience certain life changes, you must report that information to the SSA to continue getting your benefits.
Most importantly, you must tell the SSA if:
- You return to work
- Your condition improves
- There’s any change in your ability to work
These factors affect your eligibility for disability benefits. You should also notify the SSA if:
- You receive or apply for other disability benefits
- You move to a new address
- You change direct deposit accounts
- You’re unable to manage your money
- You receive a pension from work not covered by Social Security
- You get married, divorced, or change your name
- You no longer care for an adult child who receives benefits or become a parent
- You’re convicted of a crime, have an outstanding arrest warrant, or violate parole or probation
- You travel to a country outside of the United States where you can’t receive payments
- Your citizenship status changes
- A beneficiary dies
In many of these cases, you may need to follow special instructions or arrange for changes to your payments. If you don’t report these changes right away to the SSA, your payments may be halted.
How does the SSA review my status?
The SSA will review your medical condition periodically to make sure you’re still eligible for benefits. The frequency of reviews depends on your medical condition and whether it’s expected to improve.
Your first review may be scheduled six to 18 months after the date you became disabled. Based on your condition, case reviews may occur every three to seven years after that.
During a review, the SSA will ask you how your medical condition affects you and if it has improved. You’ll need to supply your doctor’s information, patient records, or documentation from other medical sources that have treated you since you last met with the SSA. If you’ve worked, you also need to supply payment information, dates you worked, and the kind of work you did.
Following your review, the Disability Determination Services agency in your state will review your case and make a decision.
What if I disagree with my SSD case review?
Benefits can be stopped if evidence shows that your condition has improved and that you can work regularly. If the Disability Determination Services agency makes a decision you don’t agree with, you can appeal it within 60 days with a disability hearing officer.
How can a disability claims attorney help me?
Filing an SSD application and appealing a decision for a case review can be complex, lengthy processes. In Tennessee, the appeals process and average wait time for a hearing is 11 months.
However, a qualified and experienced disability claims attorney from The Law Offices of Michael Hartup can help you navigate this system, and help prove your case or eligibility.
Call (731) 424-5559 to speak to someone at our Jackson, Tennessee office. Be sure to like and follow The Law Offices of Michael Hartup Facebook page for more news and resources on disability benefits.