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.” If you are curious when your next review will be, you can call and ask them to read you the date listed in the computer. Keep in mind, the actual review is sometimes late by months or years.
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.” If you got a short form, you are in the wrong place. Check out this page instead: How to Complete a Disability Update Report
The long form is ten pages and it is called “Continuing Disability Review Report.” If you got a long form, you are in the right place. Read on.
How Does Social Security Decide if I am Still Disabled?
If you’d like to learn more about how Social Security makes this decision and what the requirements are, take a look here: How to Be Prepared for a Continuing Disability Review
Completing The Report
🌷 If you’d like to see a sample, here’s a completed Continuing Disability Review Report
🌷 Make sure to include full contact, accurate contact information for all your doctors. Including phone, fax, and mailing address.
🌷 Your review may include a questions about your functioning and activities. Or this may be sent later. Tips for Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire
🌷Before you send your forms in, make a copy for yourself.
Optional / Helpful
Here’s three things you do not have to do, but if you want to do them they may help things go more smoothly:
🌷If you have copies of your medical records, you can enclose them with your review forms. Sometimes Social Security does not collect all your records, so if something is important, sending it yourself can increase the chances that it will be seen. (Hint: Do not print things out online. The records you see online are not your complete records).
🌷If your doctor is willing, you can ask for a brief letter stating that you continue to have severe symptoms and functional impairments and you are still unable to work (or unable to work full time).
🌷If you are in a home care program or you are receiving any other disability-related services, you can also request from your caseworker a copy of your case file or assessments and submit these with your review.
After Sending Back Review Forms
🌷After you send everything in, call and make sure it was received. Some people send it by delivery confirmation, so they have a receipt.
🌷 Once your case is assigned to someone, it is a good idea to get in touch with that person to confirm if they have gotten all your records and offer to help them get any that are missing. Lost or missing records are very common at Social Security and can lead to a denial.
🌷 If you submit any follow up materials, make sure they go directly to the person handling your case. Many of our readers report problems when they submit materials to their local Social Security office.
🌷 You may wish to contact the person handling your case and make sure they have gotten copies of your important medical records. This person may be called a disability examiner. How to Stay In Touch with Your Disability Examiner
🌷 Laurel was submitting a new application, but most of her ideas would work for reviews as well. Great tips: How Laurel Made Damn Sure All Her Records Got To the Right Person in the Right Place
🌷 You will likely receive another form to fill out. Tips for filling out an Adult Function Form / Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire
🌷Your contact person may be sent this form: Third Party Form
🌷Sometimes you are sent to a visit with The Social Security Doctor
🌷 It’s important to check your mail regularly when while the review is going on. There is a chance you will be sent something with very limited time to respond.
🌷 If you are going out of town, or cannot access your mail regularly, you might look into signing up for informed delivery from your post office. However, this only tells you about envelopes, not larger mail.
🌷 If you are homebound and have difficulty walking to your mailbox, here is an idea: Victoria Gets Mail Delivered to Her Doorstep
🌷 If you move, it is super important to give Social Security your new address and confirm that it is updated in their system. If you come up for disability review and the paperwork is sent to the wrong address, you could get cut off and it may take months to get your check started again.
🌷 Some of our readers report that they had major problems with their reviews because they were “putting on a good face” or hiding from their doctor how sick they were. It’s important to be honest with your doctor and continue to Have Doctor Visits That Create Accurate Records
If You Have to Appeal
💮 Most reviews are approved without problem. If your review is not approved, don’t panic. You can appeal and most appeals are successful: How to Appeal a Continuing Disability Review
💮 Success story: Wisteria Gets Her Disability Benefits Back
🌷 If your doctor is not an Acceptable Medical Source – Start seeing one now. It will help you if any problems come up with your review. Acceptable Medical Source
🌷 If you are working – Please read this if you are currently working: How to Handle Disability Reviews While Working
🌷 If you haven’t been going to the doctor: Start right now, if at all possible. Also check out: How To Explain Why You Haven’t Been to the Doctor
🌷 If you are homebound and unable to visit the Social Security doctor – There is a section on this page that addresses this situation.
🌷 If you are homebound and do not have any kind of doctor – See the link above. You may also see if you can find anything helpful here: How to Get a Doctor to Come to Your House
🌷 If you missed a deadline: What To Do If You Miss a Social Security Deadline
What Do You Think?
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Updated May 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: