Unable to work due to a serious medical condition, you apply for and eventually are informed that you qualify for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. You gain some relief in knowing that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will provide you and your family with financial assistance. After all, you earned it by paying into the Social Security system all these years while you worked.
You understand that such benefits do not kick in until the SSA establishes that you were unable to work for five straight months. And, finally, after you receive that first monthly benefit payment, you wonder about other things. Will my health ever improve? Will I ever return to work? But, also, how long will I receive SSD benefits?
As long as you remain disabled and cannot work
In answering that last question: Your SSD benefits continue if your medical situation does not improve and you remain unable to work. Workers and their families will continue to receive benefits:
- If the worker remains disabled physically or mentally and is unable to work.
- Until the time the worker reaches retirement age. The result: The disability benefits convert to retired-worker benefits.
- Until the person dies.
During the time you receive SSD benefits, the government monitors your case to confirm that you still have a qualifying disability. The time frame of these reviews may be every six months to every seven years based on the severity of the ailment or injury.
In addition, the SSA reviews your medical reports, sometimes arranging a medical examination paid for by the government. Remember, you receive SSD benefits as long as the government maintains that you still have a qualifying disability. However, if the SSA decides that you no longer qualify, you can appeal its decision. If you forego the appeal, SSD benefits end three months after the government informs you that the disability has ended.