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When Does SSA Stop Disability Benefit Payments?

Social Security disability benefits payments are not permanent. Your payments will be reviewed periodically by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which could decide to stop benefits.

Disability benefits typically cease when one of the following two criteria are met.

  • You have begun to work at a Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) income level.
  • You are no longer considered disabled because of medical improvement in your condition.

If you have begun to work at the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, the decision to stop benefits will be effective from the month in which you have begun to earn an income that is equal to the SGA level.  If you are no longer considered disabled due to medical improvement, SSA will usually cease benefits effective from the month in which the evidence shows that your improvement has ended your disability.

The good news is that the Social Security Administration provides notice before stopping benefit payments.  SSA will also pay disability benefits for the month from which the benefits cease as well as the following two months. This gives the beneficiary a grace period, and prevents him or her from suffering financial distress.

It is important to understand the circumstances under which SSA will stop paying your benefits. If you’re planning to return to work, talk to a disability attorney who can help explain the process and what to expect moving forward.