Evaluations: When Recovery is Not Black and White

We have discussed before that people who receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) must occasionally undergo a review process to ensure they are still unable to work because of their disabilities. This process is called a “continuing eligibility review.” However, some disabilities are harder to evaluate, as is improvement or recovery. The SSA’s methods differ when evaluating different kinds of disabilities, both in the application process and for periodic reviews.

In every medical review, the SSA first considers medical improvements since the recipient first applied and, if applicable, his or her last review. For some this process is simple, since the evaluators have the recipient’s case in front of them and any improvement would be obvious. For instance, a truck driver who suffered severe injuries in a trucking accident would show clear improvement or not.

However, evaluators also look for physiological improvements in some patients. A recipient might have suffered mental or emotional trauma after a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and be unable to work because of it. At the review, evaluators will consider if the person has shown improvement after therapy, counseling or just the passing of time. If the evaluators believe that the person has improved and is no longer fully disabled, they might discontinue benefits.

This is a frightening prospect for many injured people who depend on their disability benefits to get by. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can help you navigate every step of the process with the SSA and be your strongest advocate. If you have questions or concerns, contact us today online or by phone at (918) 587-0050 for a free consultation to discuss your case.



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