How to Troubleshoot (Short Form CDR)


If you don’t have the perfect short form CDR, don’t worry, you can still pass your review. What’s the problem you are bumping up against?

Uh oh! I included remarks and attachments!!

Don’t worry! It just means your form won’t be read by the computer. It will be read by a human and will take longer to process. As long as nothing bad is in the attachments, you can still be approved.

Uh oh! I have been working!!!

Don’t worry, you can still pass your review. If you have been working, there is a greater chance they will send you a long form CDR to fill out. It’s very important to keep up good medical records. Many people work part time and still pass their reviews, but your review will be scrutinized more closely. If you are not approved your first try, make sure to appeal. Always always always appeal and keep appealing.

Uh oh! I have been in school!!!

This may not actually cause any problems. The computer may still automatically approve you, or you may be sent a long form CDR. Either way, the most important thing is to keep up good medical records. If you need any disability accommodations or special assistance for your school work, it’s a great idea to get this in writing and keep a copy. It is possible to be in school and still pass your CDR, but they may scrutinize your review more closely.

Uh oh! My condition has improved!!!

When you decide which box to check about improvement, make sure you answer about the condition(s) you were approved for. For example, if you were approved for bipolar, and later got cancer, it does not matter what happened with the cancer – answer about the bipolar.

If you do not know what you were approved for, you can call Social Security and ask or you can use your secret code to find out.

If your disability condition has improved, and this is written in your doctor’s records, it may be more difficult to pass a CDR. If you are not able to pass the CDR based on your original conditions, then they will also consider any new conditions you have developed.

If you still have the same severe impairments, but it is being diagnosed in a different way, this is usually not a problem. This is especially common in mental health. For example, if your diagnosis changes from OCD to Generalized Anxiety Disorder, these both fall under the same Social Security category and will be considered the same.

If you are not approved your first try, make sure to appeal. Always always always appeal and keep appealing. Most appeals are approved and most people who are cut off are people who give up and stop appealing. The biggest mistake people make is not appealing, or only appealing one time.

Uh oh! My doctor said I can work!!!

If your doctor said you can work, you will most likely be sent a long form CDR.

If your doctor believes that you can work part time, but not full time, you can ask your doctor to write in a statement for you stating that you have a medical condition that is severe are you are “unable to work full time” and “unable to perform Substantial Gainful Activity.” You can enclose this with your CDR.

If your doctor believes you can work full time, ask yourself this question: “Is my doctor correct?” Only you know your body and what you are capable of.

If your doctor is correct – If your condition is improved and you are able to move towards full time work and go off disability benefits, that is wonderful. Try signing up for a “Ticket to Work” program that can help you transition off benefits into work.

If your doctor is incorrect — If he is saying you can work full time and you know that you are too ill to do this — there is a problem. Either you need to do a better job of being honest about all your symptoms with your doctor, or you have already done this, and you simply have a doctor who is not supportive or does not understand your condition.

Some doctors simply do not believe in the disability system and think every patient should work. This may have nothing to do with you and how serious your condition is. A doctor who does not believe in disability can cause a lot of harm and most patients chose to immediately find a new doctor who better understands their condition. If you are already in the process of being reviewed, do not wait to figure this out. The longer you wait, the worse things get.

If you are not approved your first try, make sure to appeal. Always always always appeal and keep appealing. Most appeals are approved and most people who are cut off are people who give up and stop appealing.

Uh oh! I don’t have three recent doctor visits!!

You may be sent a long form CDR some time in the upcoming year. If you are still disabled and unable to work, it is best to start seeing a doctor, have frequent visits, and try to have great doctor visits that accurately document your condition.

If possible, it is a good idea to go back to the same doctor you saw in the past because that person already has a treating history with him. Make sure the doctor you see is an “acceptable medical source.”

Here is what Jane did: “I wanted to discuss my condition and the short form questions with my doctor, but I could not get an appointment soon enough. I called Social Security and asked for a thirty day extension so I would have time to meet with my doctor. They yes to the extension.”

When the long form arrives, if you still do not have a lot of recent doctor visits, it is a good idea to try to include an explanation on why you were not able to get to the doctor

Some people have conditions that cannot be treated. For example, blindness or lost limbs. If your condition cannot be treated, you can explain this to social security, or you can go to the doctor to confirm that you still have the condition and it cannot be treated.

Social Security guidelines state that appointments within the past two years are considered recent. So if you have seen your doctor at least three times within the past two years, this may be acceptable – as long as visits were for the condition you were approved for. (for example, If you got approved for bipolar, it does not count if you went to the doctor for the flu).

Of course, it is better if you can see your doctor more frequently than this, but it depends on your condition and how often your doctor recommends you come for treatment. If you have a gap in your treatment, you may wish to start seeing your doctor very regularly to get back on track.

If you did not have standard doctor visits but instead went to the hospital for your condition, under the doctors section you can list the dates when you met with doctors in the hospital.

What Happens Next

After your short form is reviewed two things can happen:

  1. You can be approved or
  2. You can be sent a long form. How to Complete a Continuing Disability Review

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