How to Complete the Short Form CDR

Social Security has two different Disability Review forms they send out. People like to call these the “short form” and the “long form”. The short form is two-pages and it is called “Disability Update Report”. The long form is ten pages and it is called “Continuing Disability Review”.

The Short Form is not a medical review. It is just a little form they use to decide if they want to do a medical review. When you get a short form, they do not contact your doctor or look at any of your medical records.

Passing a review is much easier than getting approved in the first place. Nearly all reviews are successful in the end. Some get approved quickly (within six months) and some take more time and paperwork.

No one gets cut off disability because of a short form. The worst thing that can happen is they will follow up with a long form, and the best thing that can happen is they will just approve you. Usually, the best thing happens. 🙂

Social Security has put a system in place where most short forms are processed by a computer that will scan in the boxes on the form. This computer has the ability to automatically approve you, without ever being seen by a human!

The Quick & Easy Review

It is important to answer all questions honestly. According to the Social Security policy manual, there is a good chance the computer will automatically approve you if:

  • You are not working
  • You are not in school
  • Your condition has not improved (same or worse)
  • Your doctor said you cannot work or your doctor did not talk about working
  • You have three recent doctor’s appointments or three recent hospital visits
  • No remarks and nothing written in the margins
  • No attachments
  • The form is signed
  • All questions are answered
  • You do not have any other unresolved Social Security issues

It may be helpful if some or all of the doctor’s appointments that you list are for the condition you were approved for. For example, if you were approved for bipolar, going to the doctor for a broken toe will not be meaningful.

The Longer & Slower Review

If you have been working or been in school or your condition has improved or your doctor said you can work or you do not have recent doctor’s visits, there is a chance you will be sent a long form for more review.

Don’t worry, no final decisions will not be made right now. They do NOT decide to cut anyone off based on a short form. The worst thing that can happen is you will be sent a long form review.

If you have been working or in school or not seeing the doctor or have other issues with your short form, please read: How to Troubleshoot the Short Form

Before Filling Out the Form

Make a copy. This way if you check the wrong box of make a mistake, you will have a blank copy to work with.

Remarks and Attachments

Most disability advocates recommend that you do not include any remarks or attachments on your Short Form. If you just fill in the boxes, you can let the computer do its thing. The computer may be able to easily approve you! If you include remarks or attachments, your form won’t go to the computer. It will go to a human who will have to read everything you wrote and make a decision. This may take a lot longer.

Tell the Truth

It is important to answer honestly, especially about working. Social Security checks IRS records to see if people are working. They can also check bank accounts.

Next Steps

Before you send back your short form, make a copy for yourself.

After sending back your short form, please read How to Wait for Your Short Form Response

Update: I’ve been checking the reads on this website, and for some reason a lot of people do not read the above posts. That is a mistake. It is important to know what to do next. Please read more.

Anything else interesting here?

As a matter of fact, yes! Bet you didn’t know your form contains a secret code. You really do not need to know this, but if you are curious…  You can find out all about your secret code here.

If you would like to read some excruciating and impenetrable instructions on how the Short Form is processed, here you can find the policy manual for the short form. Look up your secret code first, so you will know if you are low, medium, or high.

2 thoughts on “How to Complete the Short Form CDR”

  1. What happens if I made an error, and need to fix one of the dates for last appointment? Do I request new form or will that flag me, or do I try to erase the wrong date and re write and will that flag me? I have long term and always get the short form.


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