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A disabling illness or injury is a life-changing event. Recovery takes a long time, and what follows is the anxiety of how to support yourself or your family financially without the regular income from work that you’ve come to depend upon.

Permanent or long-term disability can qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). A thorough application process that includes a medical evaluation and considers the years you’ve worked, how much you’ve put into the Social Security system, and the extent of your disability determines whether you’ll receive monthly disability benefits.

One question you may have once you’ve been approved for SSDI benefits is how long the payments last. The benefits are paid out to recipients indefinitely or for a limited duration. How long your Social Security disability benefits last is based on factors that include your ability to return to work.

Meeting the Disability Standard

Social Security benefit applicants are evaluated by their state’s Disability Determination Services agency on behalf of the Social Security Administration to determine if they meet the administration’s definition of disability. An applicant for SSDI must be fully disabled by a physical or mental impairment or the effects of an illness. The applicant must also be unable to perform work-related activities or home tasks in a manner that meet the definition of disability.

What Determines Benefit Duration

Individuals who are approved for SSDI benefits undergo a review to determine if their eligibility for payments should continue. Social Security disability benefits are paid indefinitely to individuals unlikely to recover from their mental or physical impairments. This typically includes the blind and those living with pulmonary or respiratory disease or long-term mental disorders.

Eligibility Reviews

Not everyone meets these criteria. You can expect a continuing eligibility review in six to 18 months if the SSA expects medical improvement on your part – a category listed as MIE, or medical improvement expected. If during the review period, you are showing improvement and are able to return to work, your SSDI benefits are discontinued. If your condition has not improved, your benefits continue for another six to 18 months until your next review.

The SSA could also determine that your condition may improve but is not likely to, a category listed as MIP, or medical improvement possible. In this case, you will receive an SSDI eligibility review every two to five years. If your disability still prevents you from working, you will be paid SSDI benefits for another two to five years until your next eligibility review. As in an MIE case review, if during the review period, you are showing improvement and can return to work, your SSDI benefits come to an end.

Social Security Disability Form

Back to Work

Your SSDI benefit payments last for as long as you are disabled and end once you show progress toward recovery. The Social Security Administration is working with SSDI recipients to reduce their dependency on federal benefits through the Social Security disability Ticket to Work program. In this voluntary program, recipients of SSDI pair with certified Employment Networks for vocational training, career counseling, and job placement assistance. The goal is to get recipients of disability benefits back on the path back to the workforce and the path to financial independence.

DisABLEd Workers USA is an approved Ticket to Work service provider for Social Security disability benefits recipients. If you want to know more about the SSA Ticket to Work program, its requirements and how to apply, call DisABLEd Workers USA at 877-291-9806. Its program specialists can answer any questions you may have.