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Will the SSA review my disability even after benefits begin? - IV

In today's post, we'll conclude our discussion of the avenues of appeal available to those individuals who have learned that the Social Security Administration has decided to stop their disability benefits after determining that their condition has improved and they are capable of working regularly.

In our last post, we discussed the first two levels of appeal -- reconsideration and a hearing before an administrative law judge. Today, we'll explore the final two levels of review: the Appeals Council and the federal district court.

Appeals Council

In the event the ALJ renders an adverse decision, the next step is to request that the Social Security Appeals Council review this decision.

It's important to understand that while the Appeals Council will examine your request, there is a chance that it will decide that the ALJ's ruling was correct and decline to review your case.

If it decides that your case merits further review, however, the Appeals Council will either remand the case to an ALJ (i.e., send it back for additional consideration) or decide the matter on its own.

If the review request is denied or your case is remanded to an ALJ, you will receive a letter. Similarly, if the Appeals Council decides to review your case, you will receive a copy of its decision.

Federal district court

If the Appeals Council renders an adverse decision or declines to review your case, your final option is to file a lawsuit in federal district court, an admittedly difficult undertaking.

As a final note, it's important to keep two points in mind should you decide to appeal a decision that you are no longer disabled:

  • You may request that disability benefits continue throughout the appeals process. However, this must be done within 10 days of the receipt of the original letter from the SSA and, if the appeal is ultimately denied, you may have to repay these benefits.
  • You have approximately 60 days to appeal between each of the four appellate levels

If you have concerns about the appeals process or questions about disability benefits in general, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.

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