Currently, nearly 8.4 million people receive Social Security Disability Benefits, averaging about US$1,200 a month. Individuals receive these benefits if they are unable to hold a job because of a mental or physical impairment, such as back pain, arthritis or mood disorders.
To continue receiving these benefits, recipients must go through a periodic review process called a Continuing Disability Review. There were 2.2 million such reviews in 2018.
These reviews are meant to ensure that people who have improved or recovered from disability do not continue receiving federal benefits. The process varies depending on medical diagnosis and whether their condition is expected to improve.
Currently, recipients are classified into one of three groups: Medical Improvement Expected, Medical Improvement Possible and Medical Improvement Not Expected. Depending on classification, reviews can occur as frequently as twice a year or as rarely as once every seven years. Regardless of the designation, the review process can result in the termination of benefits.
The Trump administration has proposed the addition of a fourth classification category, called Medical Improvement Likely.