Once I get approved, can my disability benefits be taken away?
The answer is a simple but resounding YES. After being awarded disability benefits by Social Security, you are still at risk of the benefits being terminated for a variety of reasons.
Exceeding the SGA limit. Although you can work and earn an income while receiving SSD benefits, your income must remain under the SGA (Significant Gainful Activity) earnings limit. This amount changes every year, but for non-blind individuals in 2020, the SGA limit is $1,260 per month. If you earn wages that are higher than this limit pre-tax, then you will become ineligible for future disability benefits.
- Improvement of conditions. If the conditions that rendered you disabled have improved, it is possible that you may no longer be eligible for disability benefits. Social Security regularly reviews the treatment records of its recipients. If your doctor indicates that your condition has improved to the extent that you can return to work, Social security may terminate your benefits.
- As discussed above, Social Security reviews the treatment and health status of its recipients. It is important to continue your treatment and healthcare regimen after being approved for disability. If you are not continuing to receive treatment, Social Security will determine that your condition has improved since you are no longer seeking further treatment.
In all of these situations, Social Security can terminate your ongoing disability payments and eligibility for Medicare. Furthermore, if Social Security determines that you were not eligible for periods when you received disability benefits, they may send a notice of overpayment and require you to pay back those monthly benefits.
If you are notified by social security that your benefits are terminated, it is of absolute importance that you speak with a qualified attorney right away to determine your options. Time limits to appeal their decision can be very short.