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Do Disability Benefits Last Forever?

  • By:The Law Center for Social Security Rights

Now that you have been approved for Social Security disability benefits, it is not unreasonable to think about whether or not you will continue to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) payments indefinitely, or if they will stop at some point in the future. Thinking of having to go through the process of getting approved all over again can be stressful at best.

There are non-medical ways that SSD and SSI can stop which will not be discussed here. Such scenarios can include return to work situations and/or excess income for SSI. What will be discussed is whether your case will be reviewed for medical reasons.

When you are awarded disability benefits, your case is categorized into one of three categories including Medical Improvement Expected (MIE), Medical Improvement Possible (MIP) or Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE). Which of these categories your particular case falls into depends on when you will be receiving a review. You cannot find out how your case is “coded” as it is an internal system for Social Security Administration (SSA).

That isn’t to say that you cannot have a pretty good idea as to what category your medical impairment(s) fall under when you know what these three “codes” mean which are:

1. Improvement likely (MIE)

2. Improvement possible  (MIP)

3. No improvement possible (MINE)

If your case is labeled as MIE that means the SSA expects that your medical condition will improve and you will be given a continuing eligibility review in a few years. If your case is labeled as MIP that means the SSA believes that it is possible that your condition will improve but is not likely. In this case, you will most likely be given a continuing eligibility review but it will be several years down the road. It might not even happened at all. If your case is labeled as MINE that means that the SSA does not think your condition will ever improve and you will most likely not be reviewed.

Remember, as long as your medical condition does not improve, you will continue to receive disability benefits until you reach retirement age, at which point your disability benefits will convert over to retirement benefits.

It is important to note that even if the SSA’s review determines that you are able to return to work, you can appeal the decision. During this appeal you will be able to continue receiving your monthly benefit payment. However, if the appeal results in SSA determining that there was no validity to the appeal and you are denied, you may have to pay back the money you received from the SSA while you were undergoing the appeal process. When it is time for your medical review, SSA will contact you by mail to schedule an office or telephone appointment, or perhaps they will just send the forms you need to fill out and return. For this reason, it is important to keep your address updated with SSA. Once SSA has obtained a medical update, they will develop a medical history from the information that you have provided and determine if there has been any medical improvement. Once again, generally there is no need to worry about a medical review if you have not experienced

Posted in: Reconsideration, SSDI, SSI