If Social Security tries to cut off my disability Social Security benefits, what can I do?
Learn about appealing your disability Social Security claim closure, about your special reconsideration rights, and about how a lawyer can help.
Continuing Disability Reviews
When your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim is approved for disability payments, the approval decision will include a determination of when Social Security believes your health is likely to improve to the point that you will no longer be disabled. If that is the case, your approval letter may tell you that your claim will undergo a medical review at a certain point in time, typically in one year, three years, or seven years from the date your claim was approved, although the time frame could be less.
How to Appeal If Your Disability Payments Are Cut Off
If Social Security determines that you are no longer disabled and terminates your benefits, you have the right to appeal. The basic appeal form for benefit cessation due to a continuing disability review is different from the appeal form used for other appeals. You will need to file your appeal either online or by submitting a paper appeal. Either way, the form to use is SSA-789 Request for Reconsideration – Disability Cessation.
The appeal must be received by the Social Security Administration within sixty-five days of the date on the notice of termination. If Social Security does not receive your appeal within the sixty-five days, it is likely that you will lose your right to appeal. If you appeal within ten days of the termination notice, you can request that your benefits continue while the appeal is being processed and decided.
For your appeal, you will need to explain specifically why Social Security’s decision to terminate your benefits is incorrect. At this point, it would be desirable to have a lawyer who is experienced in Social Security Disability help you formulate an argument for continuation of your benefits. However, if you request payment continuation, it will be difficult to get attorney assistance because you will have no back pay from which the attorney can be paid. Of course, if you have the resources to pay a retainer fee, securing representation could be possible. You might also try to obtain representation from a non-profit that provides assistance to disabled individuals.
Special Appeal Rules for Disability Terminations
Unlike appealing a new claim denial, when your benefits are to be terminated due to a determination that you are not medically disabled, you can request an informal hearing with a hearings officer rather than relying on just a file review for your appeal. If your appeal is denied, you can still move to the next level of appeal, which is a hearing before a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ).
If your reconsideration (with or without a hearing with a hearings officer) is denied, you can appeal a second time with a request for a hearing before a administrative law judge (ALJ). If your ALJ hearing is denied and you believe procedural errors or mishandling of facts occurred, you can request review by the Social Security Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council denies your claim for continued benefits, you can file suit in Federal court. For additional information about Social Security Disability appeals, please see our article I Was Denied Social Security Disability. What Can I Do?