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Suspension of Social Security Disability Benefits

Why Would Social Security Disability Benefits Be Suspended?

If you’re receiving either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and your benefits have been suspended, you’re no doubt asking, “Why? What has happened to cause me to lose my benefits?”

A loss of benefits can, of course, put you in a very serious financial bind, and if this has happened to you, you should immediately seek the assistance of a Social Security disability benefits attorney.

At Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein, Social Security disability benefits is one of our areas of service to our clients, and if you’re unable to work and your benefits have been stopped, we urge you to seek our assistance.

In the meantime, we’ll attempt to explain why this situation may have developed and why your benefits have been suspended.

The Differences Between SSDI and SSI

First, however, it’s necessary to make clear the differences between SSDI and SSI.

SSDI and SSI are separate programs operated by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and your reason for the loss of benefits can vary, depending on which program your benefits are coming from.

To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked and paid enough FICA or self-employment taxes to have sufficient work credits. If you do not have a sufficient number of credits, you cannot qualify for SSDI whatever your disability may be.

SSI, in contrast, is a needs-based, low-income program. To qualify, you need not have worked and paid into the Social Security program. However, there are strict limits on the amount of income or assets you can have and still qualify for SSI.

Why the SSA Would Stop SSDI Benefits

The following are among the reason you may have lost your SSDI benefits.

Returning to Work While Receiving SSDI Benefits

If you return to work while receiving SSDI benefits, the SSA will determine if you’re engaged in “substantial gainful employment” (SGA). The most important factor in determining SGA is what you are earning.

In 2023, someone earning more than $1,470 a month is considered engaged in SGA, or $2,460 if you’re a blind recipient of SSDI.

An exception is what is known as the “trial work period” (TWP). This allows you to return to work for up to nine months without losing your SSDI benefits, no matter how much you’re earning.

If at the end of the TWP you’re still working and making over the SSDI income limit, the SSA will consider you no longer disabled and will stop your SSDI benefits.

Medical Improvement

If your treating physician lists your working condition as “possible” to improve, your benefits may be suspended. The SSA provides benefits only when you’re considered disabled.

You Reach Retirement Age

If you reach the Social Security full retirement age while receiving SSDI payments, those payments will stop, and you will receive Social Security retirement benefits. Your monthly income will remain the same, however.

Being Incarcerated

If you’re convicted of a crime and incarcerated, your SSDI benefits will cease, unless you participate in a rehabilitation program, in which case benefits will resume the month following your release.

Conviction of a misdemeanor, will not cause you to lose your benefits unless you’re sent to jail for a month or more.

Disabled and Turning 18

If a disabled child is receiving benefits based on someone else’s earning record, they must undergo a “redetermination of eligibility” when they turn 18. If it’s determined they still meet SSDI adult eligibility requirements, their benefits will continue.

Why SSI Benefits Would Stop

Stated briefly, if your income or assets rise above the SSI limits, the SSA will stop your benefit payments. In 2023 the income limit is $914 a month, and the asset limit is $2,000. Determining whether you are actually over these limits, however, can be an extremely complex issue, and you should seek legal assistance in resolving this issue.

Additionally, as with SSDI, your SSI benefits may end if your medical condition improves and you’re deemed eligible to work.

In the case of both SSDI and SSI, the SSA will review your case every three to seven years to determine if you’re still disabled. As a rule, about 85% of beneficiaries continue to receive benefits after their review. 

Failure to Respond

Finally, it should be noted that to continue receiving either SSDI or SSI benefits, the SSA must be able to reach you, and you must respond to their inquiry to continue to receive benefits.Failure to respond in a timely fashion may lead to a benefits suspension.

Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein – Social Security Disability Attorneys in Philadelphia, PA

If the Social Security Administration has stopped your SSDI or SSI benefits, you have the right to appeal, but this process can be extremely complex and trying, and you should not attempt it alone. Professional legal counsel is strongly advised.

At Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein, we are Social Security disability lawyers, and we would be glad to consider your case and offer our best advice and assistance going forward.

As soon as possible, contact our law firm for a free case evaluation, and give us the opportunity to see how we may assist you in regaining your disability benefits.

Posted on June 20th, 2023 by Leventhal, Sutton and Gornstein

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