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Can You Run Out of Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?


Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits depends on many factors, including having paid enough into the system. One common question is whether a beneficiary will eventually run out of benefits. This is a real concern, especially for those who can never work again. Will you wake up one day to find out you’ve simply exhausted all the benefits you are entitled to?

The good news is that benefits do not run out. However, certain events could result in a loss of benefits due to a triggering event. For example, you might no longer be disabled, in which case you are not eligible to continue to receive benefits. Contact our firm to speak with our Maryland Social Security Disability lawyer about your case.

SSDI Benefits Do Not Have an Expiration Date

Someone who is permanently and thoroughly disabled could, in theory, receive benefits for life. Of course, many beneficiaries will improve.

When SSA approves your claim, they will categorize your disability in the following manner:

  • Expected to improve. SSA puts beneficiaries in this category when the agency expects you to improve. Consequently, they will schedule a continuing disability review in 6-18 months. If they determine you are no longer disabled, they will cut off benefits. However, if you remain disabled, you can still receive benefits—but another review will be scheduled.
  • Not considered permanent. SSA thinks your condition might improve. You will receive a continuing disability review every 3 years. Again, if your condition improves, you will not receive benefits because you are no longer disabled.
  • Permanent disability. Some disabilities are not expected to ever improve, like being a quadriplegic. Still, you will undergo continuing eligibility reviews every 5-7 years.

The important point is that you may continue to receive benefits if you are still disabled. Even if you fail your disability review, you can appeal that decision and present medical evidence to support your claim.

What Cuts Off Benefits?

You could lose benefits when and if:

  • You are no longer disabled. This is the point of the continuing eligibility review—to see if you still qualify as disabled.
  • You earn too much in a month. SSA gives beneficiaries a Trial Work Period and an Extended Period of Eligibility to earn income and still retain the ability to receive benefits. However, after your EPE terminates, you can lose your benefits if you earn more than Substantial Gainful Activity threshold in even a single month.
  • You reach retirement age. At this point, any disability benefits become retirement benefits, which can last until death.

Many SSDI beneficiaries express frustration that the agency is quick to cut off benefits even though our clients are in considerable pain. You should certainly bring an appeal if you believe SSA has unfairly denied you benefits in violation of your rights.

We Can Help

The Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC, has helped many workers obtain SSDI benefits for an illness or injury. Call our law firm today to schedule a free consultation to review your case.


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