How to Pass a Continuing Disability Review

Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys

A couple meeting for a disability review

If you’re receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for a long period of time, you’ll eventually receive a notice from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your case is up for a continuing disability review (CDR). These reviews are mandated by law, and the purpose of continuing disability reviews is to verify that a person receiving disability benefits is still eligible for those benefits going forward.

A continuing disability review can be stressful for many people, and make no mistake—it’s a very important event. If the SSA determines that you no longer qualify as disabled, then you will no longer receive disability benefits.

But don’t panic. Instead, prepare.

Learning more about the CDR process and what to expect can ease some of the stress and prepare you for your review. Contacting an experienced disability lawyer is the best way to educate and prepare yourself, but if you’d like to learn more on your own first, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about the continuing disability review process.

What Is a Continuing Disability Review?

The SSA reviews disability cases every three to seven years on average. The exact amount of time that will pass before the SSA decides to review your case will depend on factors like your age (younger people tend to have claims reviewed more often), the nature of your disability, and how likely it is that you’re able to return to work. The SSA might even schedule you for a CDR sooner than three years if you have a condition where medical improvement is likely.

In addition to regularly scheduled CDRs, certain events can trigger a CDR. Examples of those events include:

  • You go back to work
  • You tell the SSA that your condition has improved
  • The SSA receives medical records or other evidence that shows your condition has improved
  • Someone tells the SSA that you aren’t following your agreed-upon treatment plan
  • A new treatment comes out that may improve your condition

When it’s time for a CDR, the SSA will mail you a two-page short form called a Disability Update Report (SSA-455, or “short form”). It’s very important that you answer this form truthfully. The form will contain questions about the status of your health, medical history, and any work you’ve done.

Depending on your answers to the short form, the SSA might send you a longer, 10-page form called the Continuing Disability Review Report. This form is a more detailed medical review that resembles the initial application you filled out when you applied for disability benefits.

If the SSA doesn’t believe it has enough evidence to reach a decision, or if there are discrepancies between what you report and your medical evidence, then the SSA might ask you to attend a consultative examination. This examination is paid for by the SSA but is conducted by an independent doctor, whose role is to help the agency determine whether you are still disabled.

A woman meeting with a medical professional and being examined

How Can I Protect My Benefits During a Continuing Disability Review?

The good news is that passing a CDR is usually not as time-consuming, stressful, or challenging as the initial process to get Social Security Disability benefits. However, the CDR is still a critical process that could affect your ability to receive benefits.

Be careful of any information you read that promises tricks, hacks, or secrets to pass a continuing disability review. Lying, giving misleading information, or providing falsified records during a CDR is a form of fraud and can come with serious consequences.

Your strategy for a CDR should be to present clear and compelling factual evidence that gives the reviewer an accurate picture of your health and disability so that you aren’t subject to an unfair and unjustified termination of benefits.

The most important steps you can take to protect the benefits you deserve include: 

  • Attend all scheduled doctor appointments and follow your agreed upon medical treatment plan
  • Familiarize yourself with your current medical records and stay up to date about your condition
  • Always answer honestly when you’re answering questions about your condition or completing your Disability Update Report
  • Choose someone you interact with daily (or otherwise someone who sees you on your worst days, not just your best) as a third-party reference on your Disability Update Report
  • Update the SSA if you have any changes of address
  • Contact an experienced disability lawyer to help guide you through the process
A couple consulting with a disability attorney

What Should I Do if the SSA … 

… Sends Me to a Long Form After My Short Form?

The “long form” Continuing Disability Review Report is 10 pages long, and if you’ve received this form, it means the SSA believes that your condition is likely to improve. This form contains detailed questions about your medical condition and employment status. If you’ve received a long form report, then then it’s very important to work with an experienced disability lawyer, as the level of medical evidence you need to provide to continue your disability benefits is significantly higher.

… Asks Me to Attend a Consultative Examination?

A consultative exam (CE) is an examination where a physician chosen by the SSA will evaluate your health, which may include asking questions and performing a variety of tests. Attending a CE is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean the CE is the final word. If you believe you are still disabled, but the CE physician determines otherwise, you will need to provide your own evidence (updated medical records, letters from trusted doctors, etc.) that explains why the findings from the consultative examination are incorrect.

… Terminated My Benefits?

If the SSA terminated your benefits, that’s not the end of the story. Many people with serious disabilities have successfully appealed an SSA termination of benefits. However, the appeal process is complex, and you may face an uphill battle, so it’s very important to have an experienced attorney on your side when you enter the SSD appeals process.

Need Help With Your Benefits or a Disability Review? Call The Wolf Pack™

If you need help getting through a continued disability review or need to appeal a termination of benefits, The Wolf Pack™ at Colbert Cooper Hill Attorneys has your back! Serving disabled individuals and their families in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Ardmore, and surrounding communities, our experienced disability attorneys will do everything in our power to help you get approved for the benefits you deserve. We know the ins and outs of the Social Security system and will answer any questions you may have about your benefits.

Call The Wolf Pack™ at 405-218-9200 or fill out our online form to get your free case review!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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