Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The law requires you to inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) of any improvements in your medical condition over time. This is a necessary step to determine your continuing eligibility for social security disability benefits from the government.
The medical charts your doctor submits during the initial application process usually indicates the prognosis for your condition. It summarizes your health status in three ways namely: expected to improve, possibility of improvement, and unlikely to improve. Therefore, the SSA reviews your disability status periodically based on those three scenarios.
It is possible for the SSA to suspend or reduce your benefits after its first review of your case. Any significant improvement in your condition is grounds for adjustment of disability benefits. The SSA may also revoke your disability benefits if you manage to earn substantial income from other sources.
Nonetheless, the decision by the SSA to adjust or cancel social security disability benefits does not go down well with everyone. You might feel that the action is erroneous and unjustified depending on your current physical status. The good thing is that the department provides for an appeals process to anyone whose disability benefits are suspended.
Disability Benefits Appeals Process
You should contact the local SSA offices immediately when you receive notice of benefits suspension or significant reduction. You may also notify your representative attorney about the situation. The importance of immediate follow-up is that the SSA has specific deadlines for its appeals processes, and any delay could prove detrimental to your case.
For instance, if you want your supplemental security income (SSI) to continue during the appeal stage, the SSA requires you to notify them within ten days of receiving the suspension letter. Failure to submit this request within the stipulated period means that you will not receive SSI until a judge delivers a ruling on your appeal case.
Levels of Appeal
The appeals process aims to review the decision for SSI suspension or reduction, and determine whether it is legally justified. You should communicate your intention to appeal by writing to the SSA within three months of receiving the cancellation letter.
Typically, the appeals process follows the chain below although some states have now removed the first step:
• Administrative Law Judge Hearing
• SSA Appeals Council Review
• Federal Court Hearing
If one level fails to settle your case satisfactorily, it progresses to the next one until you exhaust every possible appeal mechanism available. You are entitled to legal representation at all levels of appeal, and the local SSA offices can help you out with this. You can either represent yourself or hire a social security disability benefits attorney for assistance.