Every so often, Social Security will conduct a medical review to see if you are still disabled. This generally happens every 3 or 5 or 7 years. It is called a “Continuing Disability Review.”
Social Security has special policies that make passing a medical review easier than getting approved in the first place.
Social Security policies state that a review will pass if the person still has the condition they were approved for, and this condition has not improved.
Usually, they will not look at other conditions or new conditions. They will look at the condition you were approved for. If the records show that this condition has not improved, a review will usually pass. If there is a problem, then they will consider other conditions.
According to the policies for medical reviews, Social Security will look at the following:
💮 Are you in regular medical treatment?
💮 Are you being treated for the condition you were approved for?
💮 Are you following your doctor’s treatment suggestions?
💮 Is your condition still severe and are you unable to work full time?
💮 Do your medical records say your condition has “improved”?
💮 Once again, this is for the condition you were approved for. It doesn’t matter if other conditions have improved.
If You are Working or in a Work Program
💮 If you are using a Vocational Rehabilitation program or a Ticket to Work program or a job training program. Social Security may check to see if the records from these programs include anything that show that your condition has improved
💮 If you have gone back to work, Social Security may look to see if the type of work you are doing indicates that your condition has improved. (i.e. When John was approved, his records said he could not lift more than five pounds. Now John has a job that involves lifting ten pounds. Social Security may consider that John’s condition has improved.)
💮 Please take a look at some of the Social Security rules and regs around working that may be helpful to know.
Tips for Medical Records
💮 Social Security would like you to see an MD or another kind of acceptable medical source.
💮 What is your doctor’s medical opinion? Do they think you are disabled? Do they understand how severe your symptoms are? You won’t know if you don’t ask.
💮 Read this and burn it into (what’s left of) your memory.
💮 Five doctor rules you might not know
💮 Reader’s tips on how to have good medical records
💮 It’s a good idea to do this from time to time, just to make sure that what your doctor is saying to you is the same as what they are writing about you. Make sure to read complete records with treatment notes, if possible. Don’t just read what you see online or what you are handed after an office visit.
Updated June 2017. Please comment below with stories, questions, input or ideas. Please let me know if any links on this page stop working. 💮