Once your Social Security disability case is approved, you will begin to receive monthly benefits and eligibility for Medicaid (Medi-Cal here in California). However, these benefits are not guaranteed for life. From time to time Social Security will review your case to be sure you are still eligible for the program, through a case re-evaluation called a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).
The purpose of the CDR is to determine whether your disability still exists, and if it remains as severe as it was when you were first approved for Social Security benefits. Your ability to work will also be estimated. In order for Social Security to stop your benefits, they must determine that your condition has improved and you are able to work.
In many cases the CDR will occur every three years. However, if you are over 55 years old, or if you have a condition that is unlikely to improve, your reviews may be spaced out to every seven years. A CDR may be triggered at any time if records show you suddenly make more money through working, unless you are enrolled in a return-to-work plan.
It isn’t likely you will lose your benefits due to a CDR. Since the standards for initial disability approval are fairly strict, most of those approved do not see enough medical improvement to return to work. However, in cases based upon an injury or other medical condition in which improvement is likely, there is a higher rate of benefit cessation when those individuals undergo their CDRs.
If you receive notice that your benefits are being stopped due to your CDR, you do have the right to an appeal. Your claim will be heard in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You can also request that your benefits be continued until your hearing, though in some cases you may have to repay those benefits if you don’t win the appeal.
Consultation with an experienced disability attorney will help you determine your best options if your benefits are denied due to a CDR.