Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Continuing Disability Review

After the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) determines that an individual is disabled, it is required to perform a review periodically to see if that person remains disabled. That review is called a continuing disability review (“CDR”). The purpose of the CDR is to determine if a person's medical problems have improved. 

The SSA has implemented many policies recently in an attempt to try to decrease the number of people receiving disability benefits. Increasing funding to do CDRs is one of the SSA’s new tactics. In other words, the SSA hopes that CDRs will determine that disability claimants have improved so their Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits can be terminated. Not surprisingly, the SSA is over employing the CDR process. 

I represent a 52 year old fire department dispatcher with back problems, multiple sclerosis (“MS”), and fibromyalgia, whose SSD benefits were approved today. The back impairments and MS were so severe that the SSA’s medical expert concluded each medical condition met a listing. Nonetheless, even though the claimant’s herniated discs and other back problems, and brain lesions are permanent conditions, the decision approving SSD benefits recommends CDR in 12 months because improvement is expected. 

The claimant’s orthopedic and neurologic back problems are progressive in nature. While they may not get worse within 12 months, they are permanent will not improve. There is no medical evidence anywhere that MS is curable. It appears that the SSA is simply taking steps to increase the number of CDRs regardless of the facts.

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