Continuing Disability Review Process?
The majority of SSD beneficiaries undergo continuing disability reviews annually or every few years to ensure their medical conditions are unchanged and they remain eligible for benefits.

What Is The Continuing Disability Review Process? (Updated for 2022)

When applying for Social Security disability benefits, many people believe they’ll receive payments for life. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) proactively reviews nearly all disability claimants regularly after awarding benefits. Most SSDI beneficiaries undergo a continuing disability review annually or at least every few years. The SSA does this to ensure people’s medical conditions remain unchanged and they still qualify for disability benefits.

What Is A Medical Review?

The SSA conducts two types of continuing disability review (CDR) check-ups: Either work or medical. The medical review examines your health problems to see if you still meet the SSA doctor’s requirements for disability benefits. Federal law requires the SSA to regularly review disability claimants before paying additional benefits.

How Often Does the SSA Check In with People Getting Disability Benefits?

The SSA uses different timelines to check up on people receiving SSD benefits based on each person’s medical impairment(s). According to the SSA, whether a medical condition is expected to improve or not determines the continuing disability review schedule. If your condition should improve, they’re review your case 6-18 months after awarding you benefits. But if your improvement’s only possible, not probable, you won’t undergo a continuing disability review for 3 yearsIf your doctor doesn’t expect you to get better, then your reviews happen once every 7 years. The SSA also reviews your case whenever you recover or return to work. One option for returning to the workforce while still receiving benefits is through the Ticket to Work program.

Bonus Tip: The Ticket to Work program can help you find a part-time job you feel like you can handle with your current health limitations. Best of all, you can work for 9 months without losing your Medicare or monthly SSD payments!

What Happens During A Continuing Disability Review?

For a continuing disability review, the SSA mails you a paper form to fill out. You will either receive a short form (easier to fill out) or a long one (similar to the initial benefits application paperwork). The short form is only two pages long and typically goes to people whose medical issues likely won’t improve. It simply confirms that you still cannot work, specifically for health reasons. The long form is more complicated and several pages longer. It asks you for updated personal information, medical records, and any work done since you started receiving disability benefits.

Bonus Tip: No matter which continuing disability review form you get in the mail, make copies before you fill it out! That way, you have additional blank forms in case you make a mistake completing the first one.

Keep Copies of Your Paperwork

Be sure to make copies of completed CDR forms before sending them back to the SSA. That way, you have personal copies for your records. This makes it easier to complete your new paperwork during your next CDR.

Need help with your initial disability claim or CDR paperwork? You may qualify for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney or advocate by phone. Having an attorney file your claim nearly triples your chances of getting disability benefits. Best of all, disability attorneys charge $0 for legal assistance until after the SSA awards you a lump-sum payment. If you don’t win, you pay the lawyer nothing for helping you. But if you do win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Those who qualify for legal assistance through this website typically get at least $12,000 at once, plus monthly benefits.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now:

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Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity,, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.