When Approved For SSD Benefits, Do I Receive Them For Life?


When applying for disability benefits, or finally beginning to collect following approval or a successful appeal, curiosity may build about the conditions of your monthly payments. For example, a question we are commonly asked is if disability benefits continue forever once approved. Typically, as long as you are disabled, you will receive SSD benefits until you reach retirement age. 

However, the SSA does conduct regular continuing disability reviews (CDR). The frequency of these reviews are based on the severity of your disability.

How Does the SSA Categorize Your Disability, and What Does that Mean for CDRs?

Once you begin to collect disability benefits, your case will be categorized in three ways. This includes Medical Improvement Expected (MIE), Medical Improvement Possible (MIP), and Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE). The conditions of your disability payments depend on where your case falls in these three categories.

If your case is labeled as MIE, that means the SSA expects that your condition will improve and you will be given a continuing eligibility review in about six to eighteen months. If it is determined that your condition is improving and you are able to return to work following the review, your disability benefits will end. If, however, it is determined that your condition has not improved and you still cannot work, your disability benefits will continue, and you should expect a review again in another six to eighteen months.

On the other hand, if your case is labeled as MIP, then the SSA believes that your condition has the possibility of improvement, but it is not likely. In this case, you will be given a continuing eligibility review in two to five years. If the SSA determines that your condition has improved and you can work again following the review, then your benefits will stop. On the contrary, if it is found that your condition has not improved and you are still deemed unable to work, then your disability benefits will continue and you will be assessed again in another two to five years.

Lastly, if your case is labeled as MINE, then the SSA does not think that your condition will ever improve. You will still be subject to continuing eligibility reviews, but they will only occur every five to seven years. If your condition never improves, then you will receive disability benefits until you reach retirement age, at which point your benefits will convert to Social Security Retirement benefits which will be ongoing until death.

Still Have Questions? Consult With Our Social Security Disability Attorneys. 

At The Disability Attorneys of Michigan, our practice focuses on one area, and one area only: Social Security Disability. It is our mission to help you throughout the Social Security Disability claims, appeals and collection process and make sure all of your questions are answered. If you have recently become disabled and are overwhelmed dealing with the SSA, you are not alone. Let us guide you toward the benefits you need, now and in the long run. Contact us today by filling out and submitting a contact form online or calling our office at 800-949-2900 for a free consultation.

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I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.