Contributed by The Law Office of Stephen C. Gaubert
Unfortunately, your Social Security Disability benefits may be cut off before you’re ready. These situations are never ideal and can often create additional stress in an already stressful time. It’s understandable to feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, but this isn’t the end of the road if you have the proper guidance.
It’s important to understand what prompts a discontinuation of disability benefits. Many are unaware that there are certain actions and situations that can trigger a premature stoppage of benefits—so be prepared by taking a look at our guide below.
Your benefits will be cut off if you find employment and your income reaches above a certain threshold. This can put you in a precarious position if you’re new job isn’t particularly stable.
Not only can starting a job that doesn’t work out cause you to lose your benefits, but it makes it more difficult to get benefits again. If you’re worried beginning employment will affect your benefits, the SSDI Trial Period is there to help.
The SSDI Trial Period:
It’s possible to work for a period of 9 months without affecting your SSDI status. This grace period is offered despite the amount that you earn. Unfortunately, SSI does not offer a grace period and you will lose SSI benefits as soon as income goes above $735 per month.
After the grace period, the earned income limit for recipients of SSDI is $1,170 per month. However, the limit is somewhat higher for those who are blind, at $1,950 per month.
In the rare instance that your benefits get cut off despite making below this threshold, you should seek legal counsel immediately. It may be possible to have this decision overturned.
If you lose SSI or SSDI benefits due to beginning employment, it’s essential to keep accurate records of your condition if it begins to worsen as this could make it easier to have your benefits reinstated.
Change in Health Status
You may be re-evaluated for your disability status each year. However, these re-evaluations usually occur every 3 to 7 years. It’s important to note that you may lose your benefits if your condition changes.
Changes in your health may result in ineligibility for disability benefits so it’s critical to plan accordingly. With the proper preparation and guidance, you can help ensure that you have the best chances of continuing with disability benefits.
It’s essential to maintain a good relationship with your doctors when the review is scheduled, even if there is no change in your condition. Their testimony is fundamental to the outcome of your case and can influence the continuation of your benefits. As a Social Security Disability lawyer, we have seen cases where a re-evaluation can be affected by a doctor’s relationship with the patient.
Changes in Living Circumstances
You are likely to lose your disability benefits when reaching retirement age and will also lose benefits if you go into a nursing home. Therefore, it’s essential to contact legal help if you have to stay in an extended care facility. They can help to ensure that your benefits are reinstated immediately after you return home.
You will lose your benefits if you are incarcerated. Benefits are reinstated after your release of a misdemeanor offense but may be cut off for a felony. It’s always best to speak to an attorney in order to determine the proper next steps.
It is also imperative that you contact legal counsel before an extended stay in another country. If you reside in another country for a period of 30 days or more, you won’t receive SSI benefits.
For minors, benefits may change upon turning 18 and will need to be re-evaluated using the adult disability standards. In some cases, this could result in you losing benefits partially or entirely.
Asset Limits and Resources
SSI benefits will be lost if you accumulate more than $2,000 in assets. Free food or shelter can be counted as income, which has lead to the discontinuation of benefits in some cases.
These resources are often referred to as in-kind resources. When you lose benefits due to in-kind resources or assets, legal counsel can help get your benefits partially—or fully—reinstated.
Changes in Family or Spousal Income
Children under 18 that are eligible for disability benefits will be affected by the family’s income. Parents of children collecting disability benefits contact an attorney immediately if a change in employment has resulted in decreased benefits.
Adult disability benefits are affected by their spouse’s’ income. When a spouse’s income rises after being too low to affect benefits, the benefits are likely to be cut off or reduced substantially. However, when a spouse’s income is raised and then reduced, legal professionals can help get your benefits reinstated.
You still have options if your Social Security Disability benefits are stopped before you’re ready. Make consulting legal experts your first priority, as they will accurately evaluate your situation and advise on the best next steps.