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The Social Security Handbook

The following is what the Social Security Administration says in the Social Security Handbook.

623. When does disability end?

If you are an adult, your disability ends when:

  1. There has been medical improvement in your impairment(s) relating to your ability to work; and

  2. The impairment does not meet or equal a current listing in the Listing of Impairments; and

  3. You are not currently disabled; or

  4. One of the following conditions exists:

    1. One of certain exceptions to medical improvement applies and your impairment(s) considered together with your age, education, and work experience (see §609) does not prevent you from doing substantial gainful activity (see §603);

    2. Subject to the trial-work period provisions (see §§ 520-521), you demonstrate the ability to do substantial gainful activity by working (see §603) (See §617 for exceptions.);

      NOTE: In SSI cases, disability does not end on this basis.

    3. You do not cooperate with us (e.g., you refuse to give us needed medical or other evidence);

    4. We cannot locate you (e.g., a question of whether you are still disabled needs to be resolved); or

    5. You fail to follow prescribed treatment that could restore your ability to do substantial gainful activity.

If you are a child under age 18, the process for determining when your disability ends is similar to the process we use in adult cases, but there are some important differences. In general, we will find that you are no longer disabled if we determine that:

  • there has been medical improvement in any impairment(s) you had at the time of our most recent medical determination; and

  • no impairment(s) that you had at the time of our most recent medical determination currently results in marked and severe functional limitations; and

  • there are no exceptions to the medical improvement rules that apply to your case; and

  • you have no new impairments that alone or in combination with another impairment(s) result in marked and severe functional limitations.

Last Revised: Sep. 3, 2009


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