The Social Security Administration (SSA) periodically reviews the disabilities of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients and Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries to determine if their impairments still meet the requirements for program eligibility. For individuals whose eligibility was ceased after a full medical review from 2003 to 2008, we track subsequent program participation for up to 8 years. We use survival analyses to estimate the time until first return to SSI and DI and explore the differences in returns by various personal and programmatic characteristics such as age, disability type, time on program, and SSA expectations regarding medical improvement. Overall, we estimate that about 30 percent of SSI-only recipients whose eligibility ceases because of medical improvement return to the SSI program within 8 years. For DI-only worker beneficiaries whose eligibility ceases, we estimate that 20 percent will return to the DI program within 8 years.
The study's authors note that SSA has been able to do relatively few full continuing disability reviews (CDRs) and has targeted those most likely to have substantial medical improvement. If more CDRs were done, the additional people terminated would be even more likely to return to disability benefits.