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In the world of Social Security Disability recipients, getting a notice of a Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is nerve-wracking….at best. Fear and anxiety take hold of almost everyone holding a CDR announcement letter in their hands!  “Will I have to prove that I’m disabled all over again?”  Nobody willingly wants to put themselves through that again. To ease your mind, I’m here to explain what a CDR is, when it can come, and what can prevent it from coming.

What is a CDR?

Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability cases periodically to see if a person with a disability still meets SSA disability rules. SSA performs two types of reviews:

  • A medical continuing disability review.
    • A medical CDR determines if an individual continues to meet the medical requirements to collect disability benefits.
  • A work continuing disability review.
    • A work CDR determines if an individual is working and earning Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)($1310 gross earnings in 2021, $2190 if blind) on a consistent basis. SGA is the basis of the qualification for disability cash benefits.

If I’m in the Ticket to Work Program, I’m protected from a CDR, right?

  • A disabled beneficiary will not have to undergo a medical CDR based on work activity alone. If you have received disability benefits for at least 24 months OR are participating in the Ticket to Work Program you should be protected exempt from a medical CDR. However, there are a few scenarios that will trigger a CDR regardless of your participation in Ticket to Work. For example:
  • Going to work and showing a pattern of work will trigger a ­work This review requires documenting your work and earnings history on a form provided by Social Security.
  • Medical CDRs are generally triggered by the schedule based on the type/severity of the disability. Some disabilities can improve with treatment and/or time and may be assigned a medical CDR every three years.  Other disabilities that are deemed to be long term and/or permanent and not likely to improve; such as blindness, cerebral palsy (just to name a few) are more likely to have a review schedule of every 10 years.  Other disabilities can be assigned a medical review schedule of every 7 years.  Medical CDRs require documentation from your medical provider affirming your current disability status.


I’m on Ticket to Work and I got a CDR!  Why?

All of us at MPES love telling prospective clients with participation and achievement through the TTW Program they can be protected from a medical Continuing Disability Review.  However, a CDR can still occur under the following circumstances:

  • If a medical or work CDR was already generated by the system before your ticket is assigned.
  • If you begin working and show a pattern of consistent earnings, a work CDR may be triggered. Any time a beneficiary is working, a work CDR will occur. However, these reviews are fairly straightforward to fill out with the help of maintenance of a record of your earnings history (like your pay stubs).
  • If you are not making “timely progress” as measured by either work earnings or school credit hours, by SSA, both a work and medical CDR can be triggered. Timely progress defines earnings to be consistently making Substantial Gainful Activity ($1310 gross earnings) at the time of your scheduled review date or achieving a certain number of credit hours for education/school.

What do I need to do to keep from getting a medical CDR while on Ticket to Work Program?

  • Ensure you are making timely progress as measured by your earnings or the number of credit hours you are taking for school. We are here to help you through the process and can assist you in understanding and completing the review paperwork.

No one really wants to get a medical review!  Please give us a call or send us an email and we can talk to you about your individual circumstances.

‘Till next time,