Durational Limits on Social Security Disability Benefits

Clients and non-clients alike sometimes ask whether or not they can expect their Social Security Benefits to expire or be cut-off. Generally you will continue to receive disability as long as your condition keeps you from working. However, there are situations when Social Security will insist on taking your benefits. This article will address the following examples of situations when such an instance happens: -Claimant has been working full time -Claimant turns 18 years old Claimant has been working full time A trial work period is allowed while someone is receiving Social Security Disability benefits. Over the course of a benefit period you are not allowed to work and earn above $1010 (requirement for the year 2012) for 9 months and still receive benefits. Once you work more than that, your monthly cash benefit will likely be cut off.  This does not have to be 9 months in a row.  It can be broken up into a series of shorter durations. To receive benefits again, you will have to do two things. First, you will have to stop earning over $1010 per month (before taxes) through work. Second, you will most likely have to reapply.  However, you may be allowed to appeal through the cessation process which will be discussed in a later article. Claimant turns 18 years old This is the most common form of cessation case that I encounter. Children’s benefits are determined using a different set of criteria than adults and when a person turns 18 they become subject to the adult standards. In cases where physical reasons are the initial determining factor for disability the following actors come into play: -the child has grown out of their condition completely -the child has grown out of their condition enough so that sedentary work will not be precluded in a new residual functional capacity (RFC) determination -the child has stopped treating for their physical condition -in some states, medical assistance is revoked when a person turns 18 years old unless they are the custodial parent for dependents under 18 -in other instances, the child decides that they no longer want to treat for their condition and their parent(s) have no control over forcing their (now adult) child to treat for their medical issues -the child begins working and earning over $1010 per month before taxes In instances where a mental condition was the determining factor for childhood disability benefits the following situations frequently come into play: -the child stopped going to school in their teens and no longer requires (or has proof) of the special education services that they needed at one time If the Claimant does not continue to receive scholastic assistance (mental or occupational therapy), the strength of their case will be eroded. -the child’s mental condition is not severe enough to preclude sedentary, unskilled employment If SSA finds that you can meet the minimum requirements of a job in the national economy, you will not be deemed disabled.  To prove to social security that a mental condition is severe, a psychiatrist or therapist should be visited on a regular (1 time per month or more) basis.