Fighting a Termination of SSI or SSDI When Social Security Decides You Are No Longer Disabled

If SSA believes your medical condition has improved, they will send you a written notice that says your benefits will stop (terminate). You may fight the proposed termination by asking for reconsideration. Read this to find out how. #7402EN

Please Note:

  • Read this only if you live in Washington State.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Yes, if you get SSI or Social Security Disability (SSDI).

The Social Security Administration (SSA or Social Security) regularly reviews your medical condition to see if you still meet their disability standards. They call this process a continuing disability review (CDR).

Social Security will send you a notice asking you to go to the local office. They will ask you about how your physical and/or mental impairments still affect you. You must give Social Security a list of your doctors and of all the medications that you take.

If you return to work, Social Security can review your case to see if your impairments still meet their disability standards.

If you have worked since you applied for disability benefits or since your last review, Social Security also needs information about the

  • Dates you worked.
  • Pay you got.
  • Kind of work you did.

During the review, Social Security may send you and your past and current employers forms asking details about your work. You must fill these out and return them to Social Security by the deadline.

If Social Security believes your medical condition has improved, they will send you a written notice saying your benefits will end (terminate). This decision becomes final if you do not appeal within 60 days of the date of the notice. To learn more about how to appeal, keep reading this FAQ.

The appeal process at this stage is called "asking for reconsideration." You will need to fill out a form called "Request for Reconsideration – Disability Cessation" (form number SSA-789). You can get the form from your local Social Security Office or from You must make this request within 60 days of the date on the notice or have a good reason to make a late request.

Yes, but only if you ask for reconsideration within 10 days of the date on the notice. Social Security will give you a form asking for benefit and Medicare and/or Medicaid continuation.

You should review your file as soon as you can. Call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 to ask for your local Social Security office number. Then call your local office to schedule this.

A relative, friend, or lawyer can help you review your file.

  • You should make sure your medical records in it are up to date. If they are not, you should submit copies of your current medical records. Or, if it is easier, you can sign an authorization to let Social Security get the records directly. You can get the authorization, Form 827, from your local Social Security office, or online at
  • You must make sure Social Security has the names and contact info for all your doctors, therapists, counselors, or anyone else with information about your disability.

Next, you will have the chance to go to an in-person disability hearing. The Division of Disability Determination Services holds this hearing.

You should tell the hearing officer conducting the hearing why you think you are still disabled (called giving testimony). You can also give the hearing officer your medical records, and have any witnesses testify.

A relative, friend, or lawyer can help you give evidence at the disability hearing.

You can ask for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You must ask for this hearing within 60 days of the date on the denial notice.

You may file the hearing request at your local Social Security office, or mail it to them. You can get a hearing request form (form number HA-501) at

Yes, but only if you ask for an ALJ Hearing within 10 days of the date on the disability hearing officer's decision.

The hearing will happen many months after you ask for it.  The ALJ will notify you of the hearing date at least 75 days beforehand. 

If you have more evidence, such as new medical records showing you are disabled, you must submit it to the ALJ or at least tell the ALJ about the evidence generally at least five business days before your hearing. If you do not do this in time, generally you must have a good reason for your lateness, such as a physical, mental, and/or educational limitation, or circumstances beyond your control.

Yes. Generally, you must let the ALJ know at least 10 business days before the hearing that you want the ALJ to issue a subpoena.

You can have someone like a lawyer or an experienced paralegal represent you. You can also represent yourself. People who are represented by a lawyer or paralegal generally do better. If you want a lawyer with experience in Social Security claims, ask your local bar association or the National Organization for Social Security Claimant Representatives at for a referral.

If you will represent yourself, get a copy of your file as soon as possible. Call the hearing office to arrange to copy your file. Social Security will send you a notice that your file is ready for your review. Call the 1-800 number in the top right of the notice to make an appointment.

The papers in your file are the only information the judge has about you. You must present your whole case at the hearing.

Make a list of what you want to tell the judge and what you want your witnesses to tell the judge.

If you have trouble getting your records, read Viewing and Getting Copies of Your Medical Records to learn what your options are.

You and your witnesses should explain how your disability keeps you from working and affects your daily activities. Your witnesses can either answer your questions or speak directly to the judge about you. The ALJ will ask questions of you and your witnesses.

The judge will make a written decision and mail it to you within a few months. If it is not favorable, the decision notice will tell you how to appeal to the Appeals Council.

Yes, but you must choose between appealing the current claim and filing a new claim. You cannot do both. If you decide to drop your appeal, you must let Social Security know that in writing. Keep a copy of what you send them for your own records.

You may reapply any time. If you drop your appeal, you may lose benefits or other important rights. Talk with a lawyer before deciding to file a new claim or dropping your appeal.

Get Legal Help

Visit Northwest Justice Project to find out how to get legal help. 

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Last Review and Update: Sep 30, 2022
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