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Continuing eligibility for SSI benefits

The Social Security Administration provides benefits for a range of different individuals with financial needs. Although retired and elderly individuals are the people most commonly recognized as receiving benefits from the SSA, disabled individuals with the requisite work history and disabled or blind individuals with limited income and resources also have access to benefits provided by the SSA. The Supplemental Security Income program provides critical financial assistance for individuals -- adults and children -- who have financial need due to a disability or blindness.

After qualifying and proving initial eligibility for benefits, that is not the end of the process for recipients of SSI benefits. Instead, the recipient must undergo what is a called a continuing disability review, as well as periodic redetermination. Because some disabilities may improve or disappear over time, the Social Security Administration will review a person's disability or blindness periodically in order to determine whether or not the person still qualifies according to the medical requirements of the SSI program.

Although continuing disability reviews are typically conducted every every three years, the reviews can occur sooner if the SSA has reason to believe or expect that the person's condition may change or improve prior to three years. In some cases, the continuing disability reviews will occur less often than every three years. A longer period of time between reviews is often warranted when a person's condition is not expected to improve.

A person must also prove that he or she continues to meet the other, non-medical eligibility requirements for SSI benefits. This process is called redetermination and involves a review of resources, income, and living arrangements. In most cases, the SSA conducts the redetermination every one to six years. A redetermination may also occur if the recipient of benefits reports a change, such as marriage, for example, that may affect eligibility. The SSA may conduct the redetermination via mail or telephone or in person.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Continuing Disability Reviews," accessed Dec. 8, 2014,

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