blonde woman looking at disability benefits paper

Are Social Security Disability Benefits Permanent?

Social Security payments will not begin until you have been disabled for a minimum of five full months. This is the law and it means that the earliest your payments will begin will usually be in month six of your disability. The exception to the waiting period rule, however, is that there will be no waiting period if the disability is the result of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Once you have been approved for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will let you know that you will be receiving disability benefit payments and when you will start to receive such payments. Even before you begin receiving payments, however, you will likely wonder how long you will receive benefit payments. Are Social Security Disability benefits permanent?

Are Social Security Disability Benefits Permanent?

No, disability benefits are not permanent. They will end one way or another, but the bottom line is the receipt of disability benefit payments will not go on indefinitely. Generally speaking, disability benefit payments will continue as long as your medical condition continues to prevent you from engaging in substantially gainful activity. Especially considering advances in medical and therapeutic devices and practices, many do end up improving to the point where they can return to work. The Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts periodic case reviews to see if benefit recipients still have a qualifying disability. These are referred to as “continuing disability reviews” and you will be notified as to when your first review will occur. Furthermore, as a benefit recipient, you are responsible for keeping the SSA updated on whether you:

  • Have a change in your ability to work
  • Return to work
  • Have an improvement in your medical condition

If your disabling condition continues to prevent you from working, then your receipt of Social Security disability benefits still will not continue indefinitely. If they are not terminated by the SSA due to improvement of your condition, then they will end when you become eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. In some sense then, your disability benefits change to Social Security retirement benefits.

In sum, your disability payments will end at retirement or upon improvement of your medical condition. They will also end if you are sentenced for more than 30 days in jail, but can be reinstated upon your release from jail. They will also end if you return to work and earn a substantial income. It is important to note, however, that returning to work will not, in and of itself, result in the termination of your benefits. The income you earn must be substantial to merit that.

Disability Attorney

When will you start receiving disability benefits? How can you qualify for disability benefits? How much will you receive in benefit payments? How long will you continue to receive disability payments? The world of Social Security disability benefits seems to be filled with complicated and important questions. Get the answers you need from Disability Advocates. Contact us today.