7 Reasons Your Social Security Disability Benefits May Stop (and how to avoid them)

In most cases, claimants will receive their disability award for many wonderful years. Once they’ve finally received their disability, the last thing anyone wants to experience is having their benefits stop.  Yet, there are certain reasons why payments may cease and be taken away due to policy.  Of course, SSD and SSI are very different, but it’s important to know what can cause your Social Security Disability to be terminated. The following are the top 7 reasons why one may lose their benefits and which category of benefits it falls under.

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1) Medical Improvement (SSI & SSD)

If the medical or psychiatric condition(s) that make you disabled improve, the SSA could find that you are no longer disabled, making your benefit payments stop. This applies the same in both SSD and SSI claims.

Briefly, the SSA periodically reviews the case of all beneficiaries (usually in 3 or 7 year increments) to determine if they are still disabled. These “continuing disability reviews” are generally less strict than the standards used when applying for disability, and most disability beneficiaries continue to receive benefits after their review.

2) Returning to Work (SSI & SSD)

If you return to work while receiving SSD benefits, the SSA will determine if you are engaging in “substantial gainful activity” (SGA). The biggest factor in determining if work qualifies as SGA is the amount a person is paid. In 2015, someone is generally considered to be engaging in SGA if he or she earns more than $1,090 ($1,820 for blind individuals.)  However, this isn’t a cut and dry issue. It is possible for the SSA to determine that your job duties constitute SGA even if you are earning less than this amount.

SSI benefits will stop if the recipient returns to work and engages in SGA. However, trial work periods are not available under the SSI program. SSI does have a Ticket to Work Program and a “Plan for Achieving Self-Support, however.

3) Reaching Retirement Age (SSD)

Social Security disability beneficiaries who reach full retirement age will see their disability benefits stop, since you cannot receive both Social Security disability benefits and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time.will instead receive payments under the Social Security retirement benefits program.

4) Being Incarcerated or Institutionalized (SSD)

If you are confined to a prison or other penal institution after being convicted of a crime, your disability benefits will stop for the period of time you are incarcerated. In addition, sometimes a felony conviction will lead to a cessation of benefits as well.

5) Going about the Income or Asset Limits (SSI)

If you are receiving SSI and, for any reason, your income or assets rise above the limit for SSI eligibility, your benefits will stop. In 2015, the individual income limit for SSI is $733 per month, and the asset limit is $2,000. While SSI recipients should be aware of these limits, determining whether you are over the income limit can be a complex issue due to a number of factors.  Some factors include, but are not limited to, an increase in income, free food or shelter, increase in assets, spousal income, and/or  parental income.

6) Turning 18 (SSI)

Children who are receiving SSI will have their condition reevaluated according to the adult SSI standards when they turn 18, and depending on the SSA’s finding, this could cause their benefits to stop.

7) Changes in Living Situation (SSI)

If you enter or leave an institution such as a nursing home or halfway house, this will affect your eligibility. In addition, if you leave the U.S. for 30 days or more, your SSI benefits will stop.

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There are two easy ways to avoid these pitfalls and find out if you are still eligible for your benefits:

        a)  Stay in contact with your local SSA and keep them up to date.

        b)  Contact Muse Disability Services for further assistance.


As always we look forward to assisting you with obtaining the benefits you deserve & helping you keep them.



Sources: Disability Secrets, “What Will Cause Your Social Security Benefits to Stop,” http://www.disabilitysecrets.com/page1-5.html, Dec. 10, 2015.