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Social Security’s Disability Update Report

By January 14, 2021February 27th, 20242 min read

When individuals receive monthly benefits from Social Security Administration (SSA), the agency will periodically check in on recipients to see if they still meet the eligibility rules, known as the Continuing Disability Review process. SSA is required to repeat this process every three years.

SSA reviews current beneficiaries by asking them to complete the Disability Update Report, also known as the “short form.” SSA will mail it to you, and you are expected to complete it with any updated information about your medical condition and treatments. You may complete and submit the form online or mail it back to SSA.

The Disability Update Report is not the equivalent of a medical review, but, depending on your answers, SSA may initiate a medical review after it receives your completed report. When SSA sends the form to you, they don’t contact your doctor or look at your medical records.

Don’t panic when you receive the Disability Update Report—it is only a screening form. Answer the questions honestly because SSA can check your bank accounts and IRS records to see if you have started working again.

Along with being honest, the best thing you can do to help with the review process is to continue seeing your primary doctor and other treating physicians regularly. If you have not seen your doctor in the last year or since you were approved for benefits, that could be a red flag to SSA, and they might think that you are no longer disabled or that your condition has improved to the point where you are able to work again.

Additional red flags include the following: 1) checking the box that states your doctor told you that you can work; 2) checking the box that says that your health is better now than when you were approved for benefits; and/or 3) entering earnings that exceed the substantial gainful activity level. Remember, you will not lose your benefits because of the Disability Update Report, but your answers may prompt SSA to require you to undergo a full medical review.