What Would Make My Disability Benefits Stop?

Disabled Americans typically rely on two federal benefits programs to support themselves: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Once approved for benefits, many people receive them for years. However, different things can cause your benefit payments to stop, depending on which benefits you are receiving.

Why Would My SSDI Benefits Stop?

There are several reasons your benefits might stop:

  • You reach your full retirement age. You cannot receive SSDI and Social Security retirement benefits at the same time.
  • You are imprisoned or institutionalized. Your benefit payments will stop for the amount of time that you are incarcerated. SSDI benefits stop after 30 days of incarceration and are reinstated a month after release.
  • Your medical condition improves. All beneficiaries undergo periodic review to see if their condition has improved. The standard is pretty high, so most beneficiaries continue to receive benefits.
  • If you are receiving dependent benefits, you can lose them if you get married or turn a certain age.
  • You start working again. Someone who engages in “substantial gainful activity” will no longer qualify for benefits.

This last reason is worth looking at more closely. You are considered engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA) if you make more than $1,180 (or $1,970 if you are blind) per month. These amounts are for 2018 but will change each year.

You can also try out a job and not immediately lose your SSDI benefits. This trial period can last for up to nine months and there is no limit to the amount that you earn. The trial benefit exists to encourage disabled workers to try and return to the workforce without the threat of immediately losing their benefits.

Why would My SSI Benefits Stop?

SSI benefits can also stop for the following reasons:

  • You return to work. The same income limits apply to SSI as described above, but there is no trial period allowed.
  • Your medical condition improves. SSI beneficiaries, like SSDI beneficiaries, are periodically reviewed to check whether they are still disabled.
  • Your income or assets increase.
  • You leave the United States for more than 30 days.
  • You enter a nursing home or other long-term care facility. You might also lose benefits in this situation.

Because SSI is means-tested, the greatest risk is that you will go over the income or asset limits. There are complex rules that determine what counts as income or assets, which cannot be adequately summarized here. Consult with an attorney if you have questions. There may be strategies you can use to reduce your income and assets for purposes of receiving government benefits.

Speak with a Social Security Disability Lawyer in North Carolina

Losing benefits can be a scary experience, and many beneficiaries are unsure about their rights. At McChesney & McChesney, we will help you understand why your benefits have stopped and develop a game plan for getting them back, if possible. To meet with one of our lawyers, please contact us to schedule a free consultation.

We serve clients throughout the Carolinas from our offices in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Columbia.