Continuing Disability Reviews

In the last year, SSA, with direction and funding by Congress, has initiated a more aggressive campaign to review and potentially terminate disability status, benefits and Medicare to tens of thousands of people. At a meeting with Administrative Law Judges locally, it was estimated that as many as 35 to 40 percent of the cases being appealed in 2016 to area SSA hearing offices will be disability cessation appeals, rather than the typical “initial entitlement” cases.

Defining Social Security Disability

Individuals filing for disability often are very uncertain about many aspects of the process, and can easily feel overwhelmed. One question clients often ask is what definition of disability the Social Security Administration uses in the SSD and SSDI claims and appeals process.

The Consultative Examination

Each claimant for Social Security disability must provide medical records as part of the application process. If the Social Security Administration (actually the state agency with whom SSA contracts to determine eligibility for disability) concludes that the submitted medical evidence is insufficient to support a disability finding, experienced disability lawyers in San Jose will tell you that the SSA will more often than not require the claimant to undergo a consultative examination.

Meeting the Duration Requirement

Your impairment must have lasted or be expected to last for a continuous period of 12 months for you to qualify for benefits. You don’t have to wait until you have been unable to work for a whole year to apply for benefits. The SSA will presume that your impairment will meet the duration requirement if it’s the type of condition that obviously will last a long time, for example a serious spinal cord injury.

Meeting the Severity Requirement

To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a “medically determinable impairment” and your impairment must be “severe.” The purpose of this requirement is to eliminate frivolous cases. These are cases in which the claimant’s condition interferes with the ability to work only slightly, or in which the claimant does not have a genuine medical problem.