Parkinsons Disease and Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR)
Recently on our forum a user asked, I was awarded Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for my severe Parkinsons disease several years ago. I understand that the SSA will review my case through a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) sometime in the future. Can they take my benefits away?
In general, the Social Security Administration assumes that some claimants who have been awarded SSDI benefits may (at some point in the future) improve and be able to return to full-time employment. Whether its through additional vocational training or advancements in medical technology, for many, this may be possible.
With this in mind, the SSA has implemented a program referred to as a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) which allows for the periodic review of SSDI cases. The disability determination service representative will determine how often the review should occur when they approve the case. Most cases are reviewed every three to seven years.
When will my Parkinsons case be reviewed?
Many conditions have a higher likelihood of improvement or are labeled by the SSA as medical improvement possible (MIP). For instance, if you have anxiety, depression, and panic attacks it is possible, with good medication and counseling, that at some point your condition might improve. In this case, the disability examiner would note this possibility and set up a recurring schedule to review your case in three years.
Other claimants who have an even better chance of improvement may have their claim reviewed as soon as six to eighteen months after approval.
Parkinsons disease and medical improvement not expected
Its important to note, however, that many claimants have a condition which is never expected to improve. As you mentioned, you have Parkinsons disease, which is similar to other progressive degenerative conditions.
Although the SSA may be required to review your condition at some point in the future, the SSA disability examiner will categorize your condition as medical improvement not expected (MINE). This notation will generally establish a seven year review requirement, rather than three.
Experts also note that the three and seven year rule is the official procedures outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but many factors may cause the SSA to deviate from their standard guidelines. In fact, if the SSA has massive budget shortfalls all indications are that the CDRs are one of the first things the office may forego.
What do I do if the SSA notifies me about a CDR?
If you have Parkinsons and the SSA notifies you that they have scheduled a CDR, you should have very little to worry about, assuming you have not returned to work, you are working too much, and you are not making too much money.
It is very likely that the symptoms you had at the time of your approval continue to exist and continue to make it impossible for you to maintain full-time improvement.
If you do have a CDR scheduled, they will send you a form to fill out. Its important that you complete the form and provide accurate information. Do not ignore the SSA.
Bottom line: The SSA is required to perform continuing reviews of every SSDI case. Because your Parkinsons disease is not likely to improve your reviews should be cursory and occur no more than every seven years.
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