‍Living with a disability can be challenging not only physically or mentally, but also financially. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers support through programs like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Applying and getting approved for SSDI benefits can take time and feel complicated, so once you receive benefits, you may wonder why you received a request for a Continuing Disability Review (CDR).

In this article, we will explore what a CDR entails, why it is necessary, and how it may affect your SSDI benefits.

What Is a Continuing Disability Review (CDR)?

A Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is a periodic evaluation conducted by the SSA to determine if SSDI recipients still meet the eligibility criteria for disability benefits. The purpose of the CDR is to assess whether there have been any changes in the recipient’s medical condition or financial situation that may affect their ability to work.

Why Are CDRs Necessary?

CDRs are necessary to ensure that SSDI benefits are being provided to those who truly need them. The SSA wants to ensure that individuals receiving benefits remain disabled and unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA).

By conducting CDRs, the SSA can identify cases where the recipient’s medical condition has improved or their financial situation has changed, potentially rendering them ineligible for continued benefits.

When Will a CDR Be Conducted?

The frequency of CDRs depends on the likelihood of medical improvement in the individual’s condition. If medical improvement is expected, the SSA will review the case every three years. If improvement is possible, the SSA will then review the case every five to seven years. However, if they do not expect medical improvement, they may only review the case every seven years. Other factors, such as age and the severity of the disability, can also influence the frequency of CDRs.

What Happens During a CDR?

During a CDR, the SSA evaluates the recipient’s medical condition and financial situation to determine if they still meet the eligibility criteria for SSDI benefits. The review process involves several steps:

  1. Medical Records Review: The SSA will review the recipient’s medical records, including any new medical evidence, to assess the current status of their condition. This may involve requesting medical records from healthcare providers and conducting consultative examinations if necessary.
  2. Functional Assessment: The SSA may assess the recipient’s functional abilities and limitations to determine their work capacity. This may include evaluating their physical abilities, mental capabilities, and any vocational factors that may affect their ability to engage in substantial gainful activity.
  3. Financial Evaluation: The recipient’s financial situation will also be evaluated during a CDR. The SSA will assess their income and any changes that may have occurred since their initial approval for SSDI benefits.

Outcomes of a CDR

After conducting a CDR, the SSA can two outcomes:

Continued Benefits: If the SSA determines that the recipient still meets the eligibility criteria for SSDI benefits, their benefits will continue without interruption. The SSA may schedule further CDRs at specified intervals to reassess their eligibility depending on the expectation of their improvement, as discussed earlier.

Termination of Benefits: If the SSA determines that the recipient’s condition has improved to where they are no longer considered disabled, their benefits may be terminated. However, recipients may appeal this decision if they disagree.

The Continuing Disability Review (CDR) process is an important aspect of the SSDI program. It ensures that benefits are provided to those who continue to meet the eligibility criteria for disability. By understanding the purpose and procedures of a CDR, you can better prepare for the possibility of a review and take the steps to maintain your benefits. Remember, seeking legal advice is always an option if you have questions about the CDR process or need help appealing a discontinuation of benefits because of a review determination.