Losing Your Disability Benefits

Q: What should you do if you are losing your disability benefits?

Disability Attorneys of Arizona is dedicated to helping clients and their families access federal Social Security disability benefits in their time of need. If you are fearful of losing your disability benefits, you may need the help of an experienced social security disability attorney.

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits depends on which of the two federal disability benefits programs you are trying to access. While each program has its own requirements, both programs require the applicant to satisfy the federal government’s definition of being “disabled” which means they are “unable to engage in substantial gainful activity due to a medically determinable impairment that has lasted or is expected to last a minimum of 12 months or result in death.”

In a nutshell, Social Security disability benefits (“SSDI”) is based on work credits and is awarded to those who worked for the requisite number of hours and years and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes prior to becoming disabled. The other program, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a means-based program for those with extremely limited financial assets or income. 

It can be a complex and lengthy process to apply for Social Security disability benefits. So, it’s no wonder that those fortunate enough to have their applications granted might be concerned and fearful of losing those precious benefits. 

Depending on which program your benefits are paid through, some of the reasons a recipient might stop receiving benefits include:

  • reaching retirement age 
  • returning to work
  • no longer meeting the government’s definition of “disabled”
  • exceeding the income and/or assets threshold. 

If you have SSDI, your benefits generally will convert to Social Security retirement benefits when you reach your full retirement age. Whether SSI benefits will stop when the recipient turns reaches retirement age is determined by the amount of income the recipient is receiving – because SSI is it means-based program with income limits. 

Because disability benefits are meant for those who aren’t able to work, returning to work can be a reason for benefits to stop. SSDI recipients may be able to return to work during a “trial work period” and still receive their disability benefits as long as they report the work and still satisfy the government’s definition of being “disabled”. This is designed to encourage those who feel they are able to attempt a return to the workforce in the hope of getting off disability benefits without having to fear a loss of benefits if it doesn’t work out. Because SSI is based on income limits, recipients can generally continue receiving their disability benefits as long as their income remains below the threshold.

If there comes a point in time when a disability benefits recipient no longer meets the government’s definition of “disabled” benefits may cease. Periodic Continuing Disability Reviews are conducted by the Social Security Administration as a way of confirming the recipient’s disabled status and entitlement to continued disability benefits. Sometimes, benefits can be lost if the recipient failed to follow a doctor’s orders or comply with treatment recommendations and possibly contributing to their inability to return to work. 

SSDI benefits are not limited based on income, but exceeding the income and assets limits for countable assets is grounds for losing SSI benefits.

Contact Roeschke Law, LLC Today 

If you have questions regarding applying for Social Security disability benefits, appealing the denial of benefits, or need information regarding a loss of benefits, the Social Security disability experts at Roeschke Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation

From our offices in Tempe, Tucson, and Phoenix, Arizona we help clients and their families throughout the state in all aspects of disability law.