How to Complete a Continuing Disability Review Report (SSA-454-BK)

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Robin Mead

From time to time, Social Security will conduct a medical review to see if you are still disabled. Most reviews pass without problems.

How Often Will I Be Reviewed?

Reviews generally happen every 3 or 5 or 7 years. Every person is on a different review cycle and sometimes the cycle can change. Learn more about: When Is My Next Social Security Disability Review?

Types of Reviews

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.

The Most Important Thing To Do

The most important thing to do during reviews is to take care of yourself. Many people get frightened during disability reviews, and this can cause their symptoms or disability to get worse.

If you are feeling frightened, you are not alone, everyone goes through this and it is normal to feel this way. Try to be patient and gentle with yourself during this time, and reach out to your loved ones or companion animals for support, if you are able.

Reviews are a normal part of being on disability, they will happen from time to time no matter what, and most will pass with no problems. It will most likely be at least six months before you get an answer for your review, so this is a good time to slow down and focus on taking care of yourself.

Most reviews are easily approved, but even if you run into a problem you’ll have plenty of opportunities to appeal and turn things around. There are also ways to keep your benefits going during the appeal. If any problem comes up with your review, there will be time to change things or turn things around.

How Does Social Security Decide if I am Still Disabled?

Passing a review is much easier than what you went through when you first applied and got approved. 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, current and accurate contact information for all your doctors. Including phone, fax, and mailing address.

🌷Before you send your forms in, make a copy for yourself.

Optional 

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 recent medical records, you can enclose them with your review forms. (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. It does not need to have as much detail as when you first applied. Key points Social Security looks for: Has your condition improved? Are your symptoms still severe?

🌷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.

🌷 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

🌷 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.

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

Troubleshooting

🌷 If you missed a deadlineWhat To Do If You Miss a Social Security Deadline

🌷 If you are working – Tips 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

Medical Records

Review process can take 3-6 months sometimes longer. If it goes into appeals, it can take several years. So, you have time to correct problems! If there are any issues with your medical records, now is a great time to start getting stronger records: 

🌷 Some doctors are considered “Acceptable Medical Sources.” This includes a doctor who is an MD, DO, PhD Psychologist, Psychiatrist, and sometimes other practitioners. Having a doctor who is an Acceptable Medical Source is not required, but can be helpful. If your doctor is not one, you may decide to start seeing one now. Acceptable Medical Source Rules

🌷 Be honest with your doc. If you’ve been “putting on a good face” or haven’t been telling your doctor all your struggles every visit: How to Stop Hiding From Your Doctor

🌷 Tips from readers: How to Talking to Your Doctor Can Help (or hurt) Your Disability Case

What Do You Think? 

Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

Updated 2020. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

109 thoughts on “How to Complete a Continuing Disability Review Report (SSA-454-BK)”

  1. Are there steps for me to take to try to work without losing my disability? I will like to try. Where do I start?
    Thank you

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  2. question my review is due in september 2020 not sure if ill get a 454 or 455 but if it is the 454 does anyone know for mental impairments you are seeing a shrink/psychiatrist if you do get the 454 do they ask your Dr to fill stuff out or just request records from them?

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          1. would be nice to know which im getting but i even spoke to someone in richmond who does em and he was like the computer spits out its request for you either 455 or 454 and no way to know until its your files turn and it spits it out, he said you have a profile and its algorythm system looks at your profile and last cdr etc and spits out 455 or 454

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              1. ya what realy scares me is that new rule they proposed hopefully it dies some some people who were 3 year diary mip will get tossed into 2 year mil and just means shorter time between sweating about next review

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  3. Can you write too much regarding a review? I know what not to write, and I’ve read through all your posts. I was going to write a “cover letter” of sorts, much like an overall view of my current health and have it notarized like you would filing with the VA. I already have disability but it’s up for my 3yr review and it’s my first. I’ve been going to drs consistently and being treated but I didn’t know I couldnt see a PA and the dr office I’ve been going to for two years, I’ve only ever seen the PA (I filed back in 2011 so I’m pre the 2017 changes). My only saving grace is this year with my neurologist probably. Anyway; do I need to just keep the review answers one or two sentences and simply or can I elaborate?

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    1. One of the writers here was a disability examiner. She recommended keeping it to a bulleted list of less than a page.

      Of course, you are free to send as much as you like, but they may just skim it. What your doctor writes is more important.

      I have no reason to believe that getting it notarized would make a difference.

      A PA will still help, it’s just good if their records are also backed up by the neurologist.

      Hope it goes great.

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      1. Thank you so much. Turns out that’s what I ended up doing. I bullet pointed my prior disabilities and the new conditions (which are all backed up by records) w/short explanations and even section 11 for continuing comments or additional, I kept to just the one page w/one or two sentences. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I wish I had found this when I first applied, it might’ve saved all those years of fighting so thank you for all the input from anyone and everyone on this site, it really helped me get things in order and address the cdr better.

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  4. I have been scared of disability review since I got on it for emotional issues and autism. Although I had a suicidal inpatient episode more than a year ago, since then my condition HAS improved—I don’t have the emotional instability I did. However, much of the reason it has improved is BECAUSE of disability—4 hour shifts with medical accommodation cut way back on the stress, and I can go home and rest. However because I feel good, I volunteer at low responsibility positions and I socialize and go to support groups.

    My therapist, psychiatrist, and agent at the ADRC all feel that I need disability—I still have some tics that would make public facing jobs hard, and I still don’t deal well with stress. Additionally by working part time close to the limit and getting SSDI, I am not constantly worried about money, which was a thing that impaired me (my paycheck would be garnished due to debts. My SSDI has allowed me to move out of my parents house into subsidized housing). Unfortunately I can’t really mention the debt thing to SSA even though it makes a big difference in my mental state.

    I know my doctors will advocate for me, but what do I do when the reason I’m not having daily episodes and can volunteer is that I’m on SSDI. I don’t know how to fill out “what’s a typical day like” when my symptoms don’t flare up, yet my doctors think there is a good chance of regression if they took it away. How do I phrase this without lying or minimizing things?

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    1. You’ve asked an excellent question, that I don’t really know the answer to.

      I have seen mental health cases in the past where reviews were approved when condition was stable, if doctor’s letter was clear that the person was still severely impaired and medically unable to work full time, but stable currently due to meds or other circumstances.

      For the form, just be honest. What you write here is less important than what your doctor writes. If you have support from your doctors you may want to enclose letters from them and/or see if you are able to read your medical records to see if they are accurate.

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  5. Hi sleepygirl, I am planning to travel for about 20 days in the middle of November. I already had a CDR back in 2016 so I called SSA to ask when my next review would be and they said it would be in November but I have not received a notice or any packages. Do you know how much time they usually give you to get ready for a review if they send the long form? Do you know how far before they are supposed to notify you before the review appointment date? Thank you in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are good questions that I don’t know the exact answer to. I believe that a CDR typically gives you 30 days, but I’m not certain.

      Social Security sometimes sends the review forms out months or years late so it’s not possible to predict what will happen.

      If you can’t complete the forms on time, you can call and request an extension.

      They will not set up an appointment with the doctor until after you have completed and sent back all the forms. Hope this helps.

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  6. Thank you for this site. It is very helpful.

    How much time does SSA give you to finish and mail back the long form?

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  7. My disability benefits are under review, and I am concerned about a call I received earlier from my case manager. After years of seeing a psychiatrist and social worker for anxiety, depression and PTSD, I discontinued treatment (with the support of my primary care doctor) in favor of alternative therapies due to the fact that the mental health professionals kept insisting I take medication. This was following my unsuccessfully trying nine different meds for anxiety and depression. My PCP (who I see regularly for everything I was approved for, including anxiety) attests to the fact that I am unable to tolerate the side-effects of these meds. He received and filled-out a mental health questionnaire that he received from the SS case manager handling my medical review and included a statement about how I cannot tolerate mental health medications. Now I am in receipt of a phone message from the SS case worker telling me that based on what my doctor wrote, I “probably” will need to be seen by a mental health consultant who represents the SSA. With my anxiety and PTSD symptoms, I do not think that I can handle the stress of being evaluated by a strange mental health consultant at the order of the SSA and who represents the SSA. I cannot face the possibility. I am in a panic. What can I do?

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  8. Hi SleepyGirl, I have bipolar, and was approved for SSDI. I think I posted yesterday here, but I think it didn’t work. My father died in 2017 and buried in another country, and recently I had a trip to see his grave. I missed his funeral since i was in mental hospital. While I was in another country I was overwhelmed with emotions, got de-compensated, and they took me to mental hospital. I spend there 7 days. My question is: Will medical records from abroad be admitted by SSA for purpose of continues disability review?

    Thank you.

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    1. I’m sorry for the very slow response. Thank you for sharing your story. In my understanding, records from abroad would count, however I suspect it is somewhat unlikely that Social Security might actually collect those records. Is there a possibility that you could collect them yourself? I hope your review goes well for you. Most people do not have any problem if their symptoms are still severe.

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  9. Hi SleepyGirl, I have a bipolar, my father died in 2017 and buried in another country, and recently I had a trip to see his grave. I missed his funeral since i was in mental hospital. While I was in another country I was overwhelmed with emotions, got decompensated, and they took me to mental hospital. I spend there 7 days. My question is: Will medical records from abroad be admitted by SSA for purpose of Continues Disability Review?

    Thank you.

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  10. Hi all. Great site for support. Thank you for this. I was initially approved for SSDI around 8 years due to mental illness. I went through my first review (with long version forms) around 3 yrs ago. I got through it and my benefits continued. I guess I’m on the 3 yr review cycle as I just received notice of another CDR with the same exact long version form to complete. Nothing has changed about my illness, circumstances, ability to do things, or day to day life (if anything it’s only gotten worse). In terms of the medical portion, treatment, meds, etc, I will complete that with all current and updated info. So, my question is about the sections of the form where it asks for info on illness/condition, information about abilities, daily activities, hobbies, ability to do things, etc…basically all the non medical info asked in the long form CDR. Can I just complete these sections of the form the exactly same way and with same answers I did last time? How do others in this type of situation usually handle this when there has been no change at all. Also, is there anything I should list in the remarks field or is it best to leave blank if zero changes since last CDR. I’m just super stressed about completing this form and want to be able to get it done and out of my hands ASAP. Thanks!

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    1. Sorry for the slow reply. If your functioning and activities are the same, I think it is fine to write the same thing. The remarks section can be blank, unless there is something specific you didn’t write and would like them to know. I hope it goes well for you.

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  11. I got sent the long form months ago and now function report. My mother also had to fill out a function report. My therapist told me she got something from them as well to fill out. How long til I get an answer?

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  12. Hi, I recently had a bone marrow transplant done. I was originally on SSDI for sickle cell anemia. My medical reports still show I have sickle cell. I know I will possibly get SSDI until 12 months after my transplant date but I still suffer from some of the lingering damage sickle cell has done to my body(moramora, nausea, chronic headaches) how should I go about reporting this? I have a long form that they just mailed

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  13. I received a ssa 454 bk for the first time. I had brain operation about 4 years ago and receive ssdi now for about 3 1/2 years.
    Nothing has improved in my life since my operation and I can’t return to driving truck.
    Thought things would get better but no. So I’m trying to understand this form that I answered the questions and how long do I now worry about there reply.
    I had a hip replacement 9 years ago and have one leg shorter then the other. But didn’t file back then just kept on working. But this brain tumor removal has changed my entire life to unable to do very much.
    Will they stop my benefits?

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  14. when i received my cdr back in dec 2015 i got an approval letter in january it only took a month. I filled everything got copies of my medical record faxed all the papers over and was a continuance. Now im a lil scared with teh the listing fr mental illnesses. IDK if it makes it harder to meet the listing or not, All i know is that im worse than the last CDR.Im 40 have 3 mental illnesses.i wonder if they are using the old listing on existing beneficiares or if they are using the new listing.Ive been on SSDI for like 7 years now and my long form CDR was done at 4 years. What is odd is that when got my award letter it said they would review my case every 5-7 years yet my diary is 3 years . The reason i know my diary date is because i requested a benefits query its a form they have that has all your information and has your cycle date.

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    1. Hi jamie,

      I do not know whether they apply the old or new listing rules. I also don’t know if you were even approved by meeting a listing so it may not be an issue at all 🙂 If your medical records indicate that your illness is worse, I don’t think you have to worry. Most cdrs pass without problems. I hope it goes well for you.

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  15. HI SG – Very good posts. One question. I received 13 page CDR letter yesterday. Can I FILL the form ONLINE and send that form instead of hand written ? Thank You.

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  16. i know 100% what Gerbils SS Psychiatrist Dr,s are i had a friend at local SS office when i got my full CDR and he was like ya the review Psychiatrist for them is right across street and some people he sent letter to would come in and ask where it was the day of their appointment, he would say its across street and literlay he said like 20 minutes later they were back, and he would ask done allready? ya sucker talked to me for like 15 minutes! no offense but talking to someone for 15 minutes and then writing what you think they suffer from is straight up BS

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  17. but at same time if there is any logic their systems should know i have been on 30 years and consider me LOW priority

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  18. well my reasoning is alot of people got short formed because of lack of money to do full CDR,s and this year SS got funding to clear up the CDR backlog and my last FULL cdr was 16 years ago

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  19. i have been on SSI since 1989 and then converted to SSDI under my dads record but my question is i was short formed the 455 last oct and was short formed 2011 and 2014 as well last CDR 454 form was like 2002, so i was just short formed last oct but i read that SS got funding to reduce cdr backlog, so wondering if even though i was just short formed and my next diary should be aug 2020 but because they are cathing up on CDR,S wondering if they will full CDR me early

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  20. Hi SleepyGirl, I have questions about Able account. One of the criteria of ABLE account is that symptoms of your disability started before 26 years old. I am currently 51 years old and I am 10 years on disability. I am on disability for mental disorder. I did have many problems since my teens, but I grew up in another country, how am I going to proof that I had my condition since before 26 years old if IRS demands a proof of that? Will letter from my current doctor be enough? Believe or not I called and asked IRS, agent didn’t know. I decided to ask you since you know everything.)))

    Like

    1. That is nice that you think I know everything 🙂 I actually do not know this though. 😦

      SSA is very vague on this “someone who has certified, or whose parent or guardian has certified that he or she met the criteria for a disability certification before age 26.”

      I also found this article below, but please double check what it says.

      I’m not sure your current doc would be able / willing to sign something like this – unless you have some kinds of records from the past for that doctor to review?

      If you are on SSI, I would be a little worried about opening an ABLE account in this situation, just in case a problem came up with this later. Though I guess if you did have a signed doctor letter that does meet the requirement.

      Click to access TheABLEAct-FrequentlyAskedQuestions-web.pdf


      What is a disability certification and how do you get
      one?

      “Depending upon the state ABLE program’s procedures, the disability certification may be a form that a physician fills out or the ABLE program may simply
      require a letter from the physician providing certain information (such as the nature of the disability and date of onset). When a person opens an ABLE account,
      they do not need to submit a certification of eligibility at
      that time. Rather, they will certify (under penalty of
      perjury) that they are indeed eligible and have obtained
      some type of physician’s note. The ABLE account owner
      keeps this certification in his or her own files and will
      only need to produce it if audited or eligibility is
      otherwise questioned.”

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  21. Hi SleepyGirl, just wanted to tell you thank you. I did everything like you suggest, with all the medical records and doctor’s letter and I passed long CDR in 3 month. SSA didn’t contact neither me nor my doctors.
    Thank you for your work and kindness. It was VERY stressful time for me.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi again. Well, I got the cdr approval letter yesterday which I’m grateful and relieved. What I found strange is they selected 5, which reads, “Your claim will be reviewed from time to time to see if you are still eligible for benefits based on disability or blindness. When your claim is reviewed, you will be contacted if there is any question as to whether your eligibility continues.” They gave no indication as to when, no date. In my initial approval award letter, they stated they would contact me in 18 months, which they did and sent me every form that exists for a CDR; short form, long form and adult function form. Is this standard language? Thank you.

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        1. If they haven’t said it changed, it is likely the same review cycle. If you call SSA, it’s possible they can confirm for you when next review is expected.

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  22. I just received the long form CDR after turning in the short form CDR. Nothing has changed with my medical status, but I’ve returned to school. I’m doing online classes, where I can take breaks when I need to and lay down. I have severe back pain, depression, and anxiety. Even with the online classes and the ability to take breaks, I had to discontinue a particularly intense class the quarter before last because of mental health issues, and last quarter I had to COMPLETELY withdraw from all classes because of mental health issues. Reading several articles on the topic of the long form has helped a little bit, but I’m still terrified of getting cut off, especially because I just moved not very long ago and have only seen doctors once since I moved. I have another appointment with a doctor scheduled on the 7th of September, though this is a different doctor than I saw initially when I very first got where I am now living. Should I wait until I see the new doctor to fill out my disability form or should I do it now? And do you think I have a real reason to be this terrified?

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    1. Hello steph,

      These are good questions. I do not think you need to be terrified. Many people take classes part time online and do not have problems with their disability reviews. You did a good job above of explaining your limitations and accommodations.

      The most important thing is to try to return the forms before the deadline. It will not matter if it is before or after your doctors appointment, unless you’re planning To enclose the records or a doctor statement from the appointment.

      It’s a good idea to try to give your new doctor as much detailed information about your condition and limitations as possible, so that your most recent medical records will be accurate.

      I hope it goes really well for you.

      🌸 🍭

      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/how-to-have-great-visits-that-create-great-records/

      Like

    2. I was terrified after receiving the long form as well, especially since I’ve been on SSDI x15yrs. Just want to add, if you have been seeing a doctor prior to changing to new one, include those records with long form. If you weren’t able to get the form filled in on time, be sure to call the SSA case manager and ask for an extension. Be detailed on everything. Any appointment’s they send you to to their docs or psychologists, take all your med bottles with you. The one thing I fid differently with this, was I listed every diagnosis I have active right now instead of just the few I listed initially. I figured it couldn’t hurt! The docs I am seeing now are different than what I was seeing when I applied and was approved. Like you, my PCP was new and I had only seen her 3x, but she was willing to fill out an RFC form for me. I also had my Rheumatologist write a letter. BTW, mine is continued. I worried for nothing. Hope that helps! Good luck

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        1. Anything that I can do to help others avoid some of the frustrations I went thru when I first applied, I’m happy to help.

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  23. Hi Sleepy Girl. My apologies for not following up on my similar “panic”over the long form situation I posted back in February. I was finally “re-approved” at the beginning of July. I can say that they give doctor’s offices at least 30 days to return records, and/or 2 requests. I also had a letter from my treating Rheumatologist and an RFC from my PCP that I submitted. Even with that, 3 months after I turned everything in, our State Disability people still sent me to a psychologist to “verify” I was STILL disabled after 15 years of being on SSDI, and more than adequate proof from my records. That appointmention wasn’t until the 1st of June. Thankfully, the Psychologist I saw this time was amazing and actually took the time to evaluate me (vs when I 1st applied and the guy spent at most 15 min). All in all, from the time I received the long form to approval, it took about 6-7 months. I imagine CA might take longer given population difference from MI. Anxiety is no joke over this process. Prayers for all those going thru this process!

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  24. The “improvement” question i also find confusing, is that more for a doctor to decide? One day I feel I’ve improved, the next day i m worse then the day before. — Thank you so much for having this blog 🙂

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  25. Thank you – I am thinking the more detailed in describing functioning / lack of functioning as a result of my disability the better, every day is a challenge, yet some days are better then others.

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  26. Confusing ,,,, On question 19 i found it confusing::: the placesyou go on a regular basis-Is that in the pastmonth?/ 6months? longer?I wish the form was easier to understand. Some places online it says go into a lot of detail, other places it says dont, what if your doctor places a detail down, you forgot to put down – i find the entire thing stressful.

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    1. No one does it perfectly. Just do your best to write down what you are able to remember and be honest.

      If you need help to go to these places or if you need an aide to accompany you or if there are other ways you are limited while there, it is helpful to mention this as well.

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  27. Hi Sleepygirl, thank you for all your hard and usefull work. I have a quick question. I received CDR long form in 5/5/2018. I did fill the form and included one year of medical records and letter from my doctor. I submitted the form on 31/5/2018. There are still no news.
    SSA did not send any letters, did’t contact my doctors, nothing.
    In your opinion how long should review take assuming SSA will not need any more med records?
    I live in Los Angeles CA. I know I need to relax and wait, but this causes me a lot of anxiety
    Thank you.

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    1. That is great that you got a doctor’s letter. I really can’t say how long it varies a lot by state.

      If you wish you can contact SSA and ask for the contact info for the person who is handling your check – that person may be able to tell you if everything was received.

      Sometimes cdrs take about six months, but it varies a lot. If you are in regular treatment and your condition is still severe, most reviews pass without problem. I hope it goes well for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. My hisband is currently going through a Continuing disability review, He has been to a dr for anything other than being sick like with the flu and stuff. He has never been told that he needed to see a dr. will this hurt him? He does have an appt with a place next week for mental health.

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  29. I recently received the short form, this is my second review. During the last two years I tried working for a few months. Does anyone know how to answer the work questions when you worked for around 3 months but amounts are varied. (One month I earned around 300.00 and another I earned 50). Do I have to list each month separately since amounts are different? Any help would be appreciated.

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  30. I just got notification of your response. I have primary insurance thru my husband’s job and Medicare is secondary. My Rxs are thru his insurance. The high deductibles/copay for both of us thru them is ~$6800/25%. I’ve got only 2 doctors that actually know how to bill Medicare Secondary correctly. The hospital and everyone else are clueless. I am on at least 20-25 medications. One of them is Cymbalta for my Fibromyalgia which is also an antidepressant, and I am on a higher than usual dose. I am also on ADD meds. So, yes, I am treated with medications. They did send me to a different person this time for their evaluation and she seemed like she wanted to help me keep my benefits. I was actually there for over an hour (unlike the 1st time of 15 min!). I did explain to her why I haven’t been in therapy. I realized on my way home I forgot so many things I should have told her that were important to my case. This time I requested a copy of her report be sent to my PCP. I don’t recall them saying that could be done the 1st time. It was such a stressful day (Friday 6/1) as I had been up all night w my 85 y.o. mother and I had my nephew’s wedding to go to that afternoon. They couldn’t have picked a worse day. I was in so much pain by the end of the day. I just pray her report helps me. It looked like the only records they gave her was the previous psychologist’s report from when I first applied. Thank you so much for your help!

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    1. Hi Laura,

      They don’t require you to be in therapy – just to get some kind of treatment for your condition. If your pcp has been giving you medication for depression and noting your mental health problems in your records, that would count.

      I am so glad that it went well. Most people do not have any problems with reviews, as long as they are still in treatment and their condition has not improved.

      I don’t know why I wrote that about medicaid – for some reason I thought you were on medicaid, but I don’t see that now.

      In case helpful: programs that can sometimes assist with medicare co-pays.

      If you are bedbound at times, you might also qualify for a medicaid waiver – in many states they do not count spousal income.

      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/how-to-escape-medicare-fees/

      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/how-to-get-a-caregiver-through-a-waiver-program/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I will look into that. I’m in MI and even when we had no income and a teenager in school, it was tough to get help. It might be different now with the ACA, but I do know our governor is currently trying to cut off a lot of people from getting needed Medicaid. After 2-1/2 years of trying to find help, I JUST got patient assistance for one of my meds thru Novartis Patient Assistance Foundation…good only till the end of this year but at least I can get back on it! Hopefully it won’t take them 8 months to process next time! Saves me a copay of $500/month! I’m guessing you’ve already got all the info on medication assistance, but if any needs help in that area, I used to assist patients with that when I was a Medical Office Manager. Happy to help anyone in need!

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  31. I’ve been on SSDI for 15 years. It took 5 years to get approved. My review cycle is about every 3 yrs and each time I have gotten the short form, including October 2017. The prior two years my health has been worse than before so I indicated that on the form. That was the only thing that was different. According to my code, I am considered low chance of recovery to return to work. At the end of January, I receven the 10-page full review packet and was essentially given less than 3 weeks to complete and return it. To say the least, I struggled, was unable to get it in by the deadline, could not get a return call from my case worker, managed to schedule a phone appt w her that she failed to keep and finally got it in. Last month I received a letter from our State DDS stating they were reviewing my case (they are worthless). Today I received a letter from them stating that they need to send me for a psychological exam to further determine if I am disabled. I literally provided them with a full sheet of meds I am on, as well as a full single-spaced list of medical diagnoses I am currently dealing with. Granted, all of them weren’t on my initial app 15 years ago, nor were they the approved diagnoses. I never would have known what I was approved for had it not been for your site, so thank you! I thought I was approved for something different than what I’m approved for. My primary diagnosis is for osteoarthritis and the secondary is essentially depression. I realize they’re sending me b/c I haven’t been to a therapist in a long time. It seems like they’re ignoring all else. I have been bedbound the last couple years due to med side effects/ fatigue/ adrenal shutdown. My apologies for the length of this. This is stressing me out and stress is the last thing someone w adrenal insufficiency needs. Regardless, it makes no sense to waste time and money to “see” if someone who is over age 50 and has been disabled for 15 years is STILL disabled — especially when their current treating doctors have stated there is no chance of returning to work. I know I will likely be questioned by the psychologist as to why I am not in treatment. After the last psych debacle, I have issues with them getting the information right (and I used to work in mental health so I have never had prior issues with therapy). Plus, I and my husband have so many medications and medical problems (=$$$$bills/high deductible+copays) and 1 almost dead car we share (which he drives to work). I am terrified they’re just going to use this as a reason to stop my benefits. Am I over-reacting? Also, do you know if they allow spouses in these appts for support? Am I stuck having to go thru this after all these years? Is this common at this point? I’m sorry, i’m frustrated. Thank you for your blog and all your wonderful information. You are an angel!

    Like

    1. I’m sorry to hear you are going through this. The CE appointments are very standard practice and many people are sent.

      Are any of your meds for psych? Is your regular pcp treating you for psych? Therapy is not required, but they will look for some kind of treatment.

      If you were unable to get to treatment because you were bedbound, make sure to let them know this. Or if it was money or transportation, etc. I don’t understand why you would have a deductible on medicaid/medicare?

      Are you still bedbound now? You might be able to request a home visit. If your husband is able to take you, that would be easiest. They often do let someone come in with you and help explain your condition.

      Do you have a previous psych doc you can return to, or somewhere you can start treatment now? If you are bedbound, perhaps you could see if telehealth is available in your area. I know it is very difficult in that situation.

      I am hoping it goes well for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. I recieved the long form for review and the medical section it says to state the place and name of professional. What if I have gone to the same clinic, but have seen 4 different people? I have to enter each one seperately? If I did this I think i would have over 15.. And then I would have to use the remarks page and that might fill up. Also, why does it only ask for two treatment dates? First (from the last 12 months) and last? and future appointment.. we aren’t supposed to but all the appointments in between?

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    1. I don’t know the answer, but I think it would be fine to write four separate listings, or to just write one listing and then put all four doctors names in the one line.

      They should be able to request all records between the first and last appointment.

      If you need to list more doctors, you can always attach another page.

      Like

  33. I’m stress about if they gone cut me off. But my doctor prescribed me 4 different medicine for my mental health. So what the chances you think they would cut me off?

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    1. James, if your are in regular treatment and your records show your condition is still severe, you should not have to worry.

      If you are not sure what your records say, you can request copies and read them, or you can talk to your doctor about what is being written. I hope it goes great for you.

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  34. I’m going through a continuing disability review , Ssa send me the long form. And weeks later they send me a adult function report form. My doctor diagnose me with major depression severe and generalizing anxiety disorder recurrent. She put me on 4 different type of medicine. I’m nervous about the review. Do you think they’ll cut me off after my review?

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    1. This is normal procedure for reviews. If you are in regular treatment and your medical records show that your symptoms are still severe, most people have no trouble with passing a review.

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  35. I was recently admitted to psych ward for a week after admission to emergency room following a suicide attempt. After that week I was released with doctors noting improvement as far as my crisis management and coping skills. I would have been committed if I hadn’t cooperated fully & it was not fun being there. Is this considered improvement? My diagnosis of PTSD, major depressive disorder, etc were still listed & haven’t changed. What are your suggestions?

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    1. Just my opinion, but I don’t think admittance to a psych ward could possibly be seen as improvement. they were just indicating that you’d stabilized after crisis.

      Like

  36. I suffer from PTSD, major depressive disorder, HIV+, & have major low back pain with sciatica & numbness in my lower leg. Originally I had no sensation below right knee, except for pain, so I used a cane constantly. Over years I regained enough sensation so I could feel where my foot was, but still use cane sometimes. All the pain & other issues are present. Is this considered improvement? What do you suggest I write to explain sufficiently?

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    1. Just answer honestly. Tell them what your symptoms are, describe any problems you are having and write about any difficulties this gives you with functioning. if you are still having severe symptoms that keep you from functioning well, and your doctor’s records also show this, most people do not have problems with their reviews.

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  37. I just received the long form. Question/s: I work & earn only about 700 a month. It varies a little. I also went to college, but did so completely ‘online,’ part time (usually one class at a time), & with substantial accommodations for disability. I guess I am asking my chances and what you advise I write to explain? Scared.

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    1. Many people feel scared during reviews. You are not alone.

      I think what you wrote above is good – you took online courses with substantial disability accommodations. If you have any accommodations at work, you can also let them know this, or ask your employer for a letter if you wish (not required).

      Many people work part time and pass reviews without problem, if their medical records still show they are having severe symptoms.

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  38. Qualifying prior remark: You’ll be OK during your TWP if on Ticket to Work. That’s the benefit of enrolling, along with possibly having state rehab pay for retraining or other expenses.

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  39. Going through a work-triggered CDR. If lucky enough to attempt limited work, you’ll be OK during your TWP, maybe during EPE. But don’t take a short form as being left for dead. If it suddenly looks like you’re earning close to the cap from your W-2, expect a long form, even if it’s a couple of years down the road.

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  40. If you filled out the medical visits in the sugery section Oops. Should u white it out or CK no to surgery and fill in the Drs visits in the right place? Can u use white out?

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  41. You stated that people on SSDI have a review every 3-5 or 7 years. And that they usually get a (Continuing Update Report) which is the short form. My question is, do they eventually want a long form from everyone as well?

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  42. If anyone receives this questionnaire and you are on MEDICAID and not MEDICARE, please explain to them in detail, how you cannot get the care you need because you are NOT on MEDICARE and how if you were you would be better off medically. This is totally true in my case and anyone else with any kind of chronic illness-primaries don’t want to take Medicaid, the better specialists don’t take Medicaid (even more important) and many hospitals won’t don’t anything for you if you are on Medicaid, especially admit you overnight for ANY treatment or testing…

    Like

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