Factors that Could Lead to a Termination of Your Disability Benefits

September 4, 2019
Dayes Law Firm

When people are approved for Social Security Disability benefits and start receiving them, the last thing anyone wants to experience is having their benefits stop. However, there are certain factors that could lead to benefits being terminated. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both different, so it is important to know what can cause you to lose out on your benefits based on the type of disability program you are enrolled in.

The experienced Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyers at our firm can explain when your benefits could be terminated. We can also help you with the application process and all levels of appeal.

Medical Condition Improves

SSDI and SSI are both programs that provide benefits to disabled individuals. If your medical condition improves to the point where you are no longer considered disabled, you can lose benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether a claimant’s medical condition improves by using the Continuing Disability Review process. Claimants receive a notice in the mail from the SSA that notifies them that their claim is being reviewed. During this period, the claimant will be required to provide updated information to the SSA about his or her medical condition and any recent treatment received. A disability claims examiner reviews the claimant’s medical records and other evidence in the case to determine if his or her medical condition has improved.

If the examiner decides that your medical condition has improved, you will receive a notice of this information and a date when your benefits will stop. You will also receive instructions on how to appeal this decision. If the examiner determines your medical condition has not improved, the Continuing Disability Review is closed and there is no change to your benefits.

The frequency of these reviews and how soon they will be scheduled are based on the medical condition you have and the likelihood that your medical condition will improve.

You Return to Work

Both SSDI and SSI are premised on the idea that your disability prevents you from working. If you return to work and make over a certain threshold, your benefits could be terminated, or the SSA may contemplate whether you will be able to transition to work.

In 2019, an SSDI claimant who earns more than $880 will trigger a trial work period. Once you have exhausted nine months of a trial work period within five years, you will not receive disability benefits for any month in which you earned more than the substantial gainful activity threshold. In 2019, this limit is $1,220. In some cases, the SSA can determine that you have engaged in substantial gainful activity even if you earn under this amount, such as if your job duties constitute substantial gainful activity.

SSI is a needs-based program, so claimants who earn too much income can lose their benefits. If an SSI claimant earns more than $771 per month in countable income, he or she can lose benefits. The SSA does not count all income toward this limit. However, it does include other types of help as income, such as free housing or food. Additionally, a portion of your spouse’s income can be deemed to you.

You Reach Retirement Age

Once you reach full retirement age, your disability benefits stop since you cannot receive Social Security disability and retirement benefits at the same time. Therefore, your disability benefits will convert to retirement benefits. Full retirement age is currently age 66. Any earnings that you make after reaching full retirement age will not reduce your Social Security retirement benefits.

Become Incarcerated or Institutionalized

Since Social Security benefits are intended to pay for your basic living expenses, if you become incarcerated or institutionalized so that someone else (including the government) is taking care of these expenses, your disability benefits can stop. However, if you can show that your institutionalization will be less than 90 days, you may not lose your benefits. In some situations, you can lose benefits if you are convicted of a particular felony even if you are not incarcerated.

Assets or Income Exceed Limit

Your SSI benefits can be terminated if your non-exempt assets exceed $2,000 for a single claimant or $3,000 for a married claimant. Some assets or income that can be counted against you include:

  • Free food or shelter
  • Your spouse’s income
  • Parental income
  • Certain assets

Your Living Situation Changes

In some situations, a change in your living situation can cause a termination or reduction in benefits. This can include either entering or leaving an institution such as a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Let Us Protect Your Claim

After securing disability benefits, the last thing that you want to do is to lose them. Let our legal team at Dayes Law Firm help. We can inform you of the reasons why you could lose your benefits prematurely. We have many years of experience recovering disability benefits on behalf of our clients. Schedule a free and confidential consultation to learn more about your legal options.

Contact our office today by calling 1-800-503-2000.