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What might Social Security look for to end SSDI benefits?

The concept of Social Security is fairly straightforward. It's supposed to serve as a safety net. It does that through the delivery of a variety of benefits. Supplemental Security Income is the program based on financial need of a disabled person.

Then there are the retirement benefits and the benefits granted to survivors upon the death of a qualified recipient offered through the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program. Also drawing from that same trust fund are the benefits granted to workers who have earned eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

Continuation of either SSI or SSDI benefits depends on the recipient meeting specific criteria. And if beneficiaries don't pay close attention to changes in their circumstances, they could find themselves in serious financial difficulty.

Here are two main ways a person receiving SSDI benefits can trigger detrimental action.

If you receive benefits for a condition that improves after one year, you could see benefits reduced or eliminated. A heart patient who undergoes surgery could recover over time. Reassessments of condition by the government may take place every three years. If officials conclude you've improved to a point that you no longer qualify, benefits could be taken away.

But as one SSDI expert observes, sometimes the evidence officials go by isn't all that reliable. For example, say you stop going to your doctor because of cost or he says there's nothing more he can do for you. If the SSA seeks records as part of a reassessment and can't find any or sees you aren't seeing the doctor anymore, officials might decide you must be better when the exact opposite is true. If benefits are cut it could require filing a complicated and frustrating appeal.

Earning more than $1,090 a month is a flag for the SSA, too. There is a program under which you can test the return-to-work waters for a nine-month period. But if you make too much for too long of a time, the SSA could conclude you aren't disabled any more.

There are those who liken the Social Security system to the federal tax code for complexity. Indeed, some suggest it might even be more complicated. That makes consulting an attorney even more advisable.

Source: Daily Finance, "How You Can Lose Your Social Security Benefits," Hal M. Bundrick, June 17, 2015

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