The Continuing Disability Review (CDR) process is a necessary part of maintaining your Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, but that does not stop most people from dreading the day they receive a notification letter. Understanding how the CDR process works and knowing what you can expect can help reduce stress and give you peace of mind. It can also better equip you to act quickly if you receive an unfavorable ruling in your CDR.
At the Disability Advantage Group, we can help you navigate the CDR process to ensure that you continue to receive the benefits you deserve. Contact us today at 865-566-0800 for a consultation.
What is a CDR?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically checks to make sure those receiving disability benefits still qualify under the agency’s strict guidelines. Generally, they aim to review all claims every three years. However, many people go as long as seven without a CDR. This is especially true of people whose condition is unlikely to improve, such as someone with a traumatic brain injury, paralysis, or complete blindness.
While the nature of your disability does play a role in determining how frequently your case is reviewed, there are also other triggers for a CDR. These may include:
- An increase in income outside of a return to work program;
- New medical information showing remission or other improvements; and
- Reports you are engaging in activities you could not previously.
This is one reason it is important to watch what activities you engage in while drawing disability benefits. If you cannot work due to a disability but someone sees you on the roof cleaning your gutters, they may report you to the SSA and trigger a CDR. Pay attention to what you share on social media, as well. A video of you dancing could hurt your chances at keeping your benefits, even if your medical records still show you cannot stand for extended periods of time.
How does the CDR process work?
Most people learn it is their turn for a CDR when they receive a letter in the mail from the SSA. This letter will include information about where to report for your CDR. These reviews are usually held at your local Social Security office. It is very important you respond by the deadline listed on the letter and comply with their requests. Not responding will likely jeopardize your benefits.
When you contact your local office, you will schedule a time to meet for your CDR. During this meeting, a representative from Disability Determination Services (DDS) will ask you a number of questions about your medical condition, how it limits your ability to work, and any work you engage in. You should also provide any documentation of your current health status, your limitations, and any earned income you make.
In addition, the CDR will obtain the most recent records from your doctors. For this reason, it is paramount you continue to get regular medical care while drawing disability benefits. If your medical records show a discrepancy or if your doctor does not adequately document your condition, you may need to see a doctor appointed by the SSA. This exam will not cost you anything, and if one is scheduled, it is very important to attend this appointment.
Why is the CDR process so important for my disability benefits?
When the SSA reviews your disability claim, they are ensuring you still qualify to receive your monthly benefits. If they do not receive the documentation they need to show you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity, they will stop issuing your benefits. If this happens and you cannot return to work, your family’s financial situation could suffer greatly.
However, as long as you provide the evidence to show your health still prevents you from working, you should continue to receive your monthly disability checks. The most important thing you can do to ensure your CDR does not endanger your benefits is to continue to see your doctor for your disabling health concerns and thoroughly discuss your condition with any new practitioner.
You may also want to collect documentation of your disability and keep it in a folder so you have evidence to take with you if you receive a CDR letter. This may include information about your treatments, medication, pain levels, and recent copies of your medical records.
What if I lose my disability benefits because of a CDR?
Sometimes, DDS denies the benefits of someone who cannot return to work due to one or more disabilities. If this happens to you, you need to act quickly to keep drawing benefits. Call us immediately. Our disability attorneys can help you navigate the appeals process.
During the first level of appeals, we request that DDS review your CDR evidence again and reconsider your eligibility. If this is not successful, we can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge to present the evidence to support your claim.
Occasionally this administrative law judge denies benefits to someone who deserves them. If this occurs, we will continue working through the appeals process to restore your disability benefits.
How can I get help with my disability review?
Ensuring you have all the proof necessary to support continuing your disability is key in securing the benefits you deserve. At the Disability Advantage Group, we can work with you to collect the evidence you need to prove your claim and navigate the CDR process. If your benefits are denied after your CDR, we can also represent you in the appeals process. Call our office today at 865-566-0800 to schedule a time to talk with an attorney.