Robert D. Paulbeck, Attorney at Law
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Is SSDI forever? When you are required to qualify again

Shelby had an outstanding work ethic. She got her first job at 13 and had worked consistently ever since. She enjoyed working and had been raised to take care of herself. Even after her divorce, when her ex refused to make his child support payments, she was always able to provide for her family. But when her youngest child was killed in a car accident, Shelby started to falter.

Suddenly she was leaving work early or missing it all together. Her demeanor, once chipper and upbeat, suddenly became flat. Eventually she was staying in bed for days on end. Within a few months, she was diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Does she qualify?

Shelby’s doctors knew her diagnosis would require at least a couple of years of intense counseling, and consequently suggested that she apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Since Shelby had been paying into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for many decades, she more than easily met the requirement of working 40 quarters. Her prognosis also met the requirement that her disabling condition last more than a year.

After she was approved, Shelby took the time she needed to work through her depression. She was relieved to get the help she needed. She wasn’t, however, prepared for the letter she received a couple of years later from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Shelby’s case was up for medical review; she would be required to prove that her diagnosis was still interfering with her ability to work.

Benefits are not guaranteed

Once you are approved, SSDI will continue to monitor your condition. Continued benefits are not guaranteed. The federal government, and the legislation that codifies the SSDI statutes, require that you attempt to return to work. Regular reviews are required, often accompanied by medical evaluations from SSDI employed physicians.

While reviews can be frightening and stressful, remember that every recipient must undergo this process. Monitoring your progress and regular communication with your doctors are the two best ways to ameliorate your situation. Be honest with your providers. Be clear about your needs and expectations for support. Thorough documentation regarding your current condition is the best possible response to SSA’s request.

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