Understand eligibility with disability lawyers in Chicago

To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, disabled individuals must meet strict medical standards. Many SSD beneficiaries understand the difficulty of qualifying for benefits but overlook the potential challenges of maintaining eligibility. As any disability lawyers in Chicago can confirm, SSD benefits are never awarded permanently. The Social Security Administration conducts regular eligibility reviews, and various changes in a beneficiary’s life may provide grounds for benefit loss.

Reporting medical improvements

If a beneficiary or another source reports improvements to a disabling condition, the SSA automatically conducts a Continuing Disability Review. During the review, the SSA considers the nature of the medical improvement and its effect on the beneficiary’s ability to work. If the improvement clearly does not change the beneficiary’s ability to work, the beneficiary remains eligible for benefits.

Otherwise, the SSA compares the beneficiary’s current and previous residual functional capacity. RFC indicates the level of work that a person can perform, given his or her exertional and other limitations. If a person’s RFC has improved enough to permit gainful employment, the person may lose his or her benefits.

Stopping prescribed treatment

As disability lawyers in Chicago know, a beneficiary’s decision to stop following recommended treatment protocols can affect benefit eligibility. The decision to forgo treatment may suggest that a person’s condition has improved significantly and is manageable without medical care. For this reason, a person’s decision to stop treatment may trigger a CDR.

The SSA may weigh whether a beneficiary stopped following treatments protocols for legitimate non-medical reasons. For instance, financial constraints or religious beliefs may prevent a person from pursuing certain treatments. If a treatment proves ineffective or causes severe side effects, halting the treatment may also be reasonable. However, if treatment is no longer necessary due to substantial medical improvements, a person may lose eligibility for benefits.

Returning to work

Resuming work may affect a person’s eligibility for SSD for various reasons. SSD benefits are not available to people who are engaging in substantial gainful activity. In 2015, SGA is work with monthly income exceeding $1,090. Additionally, a person’s ability to work in any capacity may suggest medical improvements that allow the person to resume SGA. Therefore, changes in work activity can lead to a CDR.

As disability lawyers in Chicago can explain, in some situations, beneficiaries may resume working without losing SSD benefits. For example, beneficiaries may enter a nine-month Trial Work Period. Any month in which a beneficiary earns more than $780 qualifies as part of the trial. During these months, beneficiaries may perform SGA without losing their benefits. When the trial ends, however, the SSA may terminate benefits if a beneficiary appears capable of resuming gainful work.