Once a person in the U.S. has fought the hard-won battle and received Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, they may believe that is the end of the story. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review a recipient’s case periodically to ensure that person still qualifies for benefits.

How often a review will take place depends on how severe the recipient’s medical condition is and whether it is expected to improve. If medical improvement is expected, the recipient’s case will be reviewed within six to 18 months, starting when the recipient began getting benefits.

If medical improvement is only a possibility, the Social Security Administration will review the recipient’s case approximately every three years. If medical improvement is not expected, the recipient’s case will be reviewed by the SSA approximately every five to seven years.

SSD benefits recipients will receive a letter from the SSA informing them of a review. After that, a representative from the recipient’s area Social Security office will get in touch with the recipient to explain how the review will proceed and the recipient’s appeal rights. The Social Security representative will request information about the recipient’s medical treatment and whether the recipient has been able to work.

After that, a disability examiner, alongside a physician, will review the recipient’s case and ask for the recipient’s medical reports. A special examination, paid for by the Social Security Administration, may be necessary.

Once the SSA has made its decision, the recipient will receive a letter. If the SSA determines that the recipient still has a qualifying disability, the recipient will continue to receive benefits. If not, the recipient’s benefits will discontinue following three months.

There is an appeals process in place if a recipient disagrees with the agency’s decision. Social Security Disability benefits are a financial lifeline for those that receive them. Therefore, it is important to understand not just when a review will occur, but also what will be examined and how a decision will be made.