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Disability Benefits


The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required by law to occasion­ally review the medical condition of all people receiving disabil­ity benefits to make sure those people continue to be disabled. Generally, if your health has not improved or your disabil­ity still keeps you from working, your benefits will continue.

First Steps

First, the SSA first will gather new information about your medical condition to help them make a decision. They will ask your doctors, hospitals, and other medical sources for your medical records. They will ask them how your medical condition limits your activities, what your medical tests show, and what medical treatments you have been given. If they need more information, they will ask you to go for a special examination or test. They pay for it.

Next, the SSA will review what your medical condition was at the last review of your case, as well as any new health problems. Then they will make a decision about whether or not your medical condition has improved. If they decide your medical condition has improved, they will decide if it has improved enough to allow you to work. They will also see if the overall medical condition affects the kind of work you can do, including past work or any other kind of work you might be able to do now.

How Your Benefits are Affected

If your medical condition has improved to the extent that the SSA decides you can work, your benefits will stop. Other times your disability benefits will stop:

  • you have benefited from vocational training or advances in medical treatment or vocational technology and because of this you can work
  • the SSA makes a mistake in their earlier decision
  • you are not following the treatment your doctor ordered (without good reason), and you probably could work if you followed the treatment
  • you give the SSA misleading information
  • you are not cooperating (without good reason)
  • you are working, your average monthly earnings show that you are doing substantial gainful work (by the amount of earnings that the SSA considers substantial and gainful, which changes each year—for the current figure, refer to Publication No. 05-10003; this situation will not affect Supplemental Security Income payments)

If the SSA decides your disability benefits will stop, and you disagree, you can appeal their decision. That means you can ask them to look at your case again. When you get a letter telling you about the decision, the letter will tell you how you can appeal the decision.

Contacting the Social Security Association

For more information and to find copies of our publications, visit or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (for the hard of hearing: TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Your calls are treated confidentially. The SSA can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Generally, you will have a shorter waiting time if you call Wednesday through Friday. The SSA provides information by automated phone service 24 hours a day.