The Social Security Disability Benefits Reform Act of 1984 (“DBRA 1984”) was passed by a unanimous, bipartisan vote in the House and Senate (99-0) in September 1984. President Reagan signed the law on October 9, 1984, when it became Pub. L. No. 98-460. One of the main provisions required “medical improvement” before benefits could be terminated where years prior SSA was arbitrarily terminating benefits under false medical assumptions, specifically of those claimant’s with mental disabilities.
The Medical Improvement Review Standard:
Under Section 2(a) of DBRA 1984 sets forth the medical improvement review standard (MIRS): SSA shall terminate disability benefits only if such finding is supported by substantial evidence which demonstrates that there has been any medical improvement in the individual’s impairment or combination of impairments (other than medical improvement which is not related to the individual’s ability to work), and the individual is now able to engage in substantial gainful activity. 42 USC sections 423(f)(1) and 1382c(a)(4)(A). ”Medical improvement” is any decrease in the medical severity of your impairment(s) which was present at the time of the most recent favorable medical decision that you were disabled or continued to be disabled. 20 CFR sections 404.1594 and 416.994. SSA will only consider the impairments that the individual had at the time of the last disability decision, and not those which have developed since that time. However, SSA will consider any new impairments when it assesses whether the person is now able to engage in substantial gainful activity (assuming medical improvement of prior impairment(s) is found) under the second prong of the statutory standard. SSA will find that there has been medical improvement if only one impairment has improved, even if another impairment(s) present at the time of the most recent favorable decision has worsened. There are exceptions such as fraud where SSA can immediately terminate benefits and where SSA finds and obvious error, such as the misapplication of the rules, missing evidence, etc., SSA may “reopen” the matter for further adjudication.
As a claimant who was awarded benefits it is important, not only for your personal well being to see your treating doctors regularly, but to understand that you will be reviewed via SSA. No medical treatment usually equals “medical improvement”. If a “cessation of benefits” does occur you should immediately seek an experienced attorney.
David W. Magann, Esq.
David W. Magann, P. A. Attorneys at Law Phone: 813-657-9175 156 W. Robertson St., Brandon, FL 33511
www.DavidWMagann.com Lakeland Ph.: 863-802-8060
6107 Memorial Hwy, Tampa, FL 33615
Tampa & Brandon Offices Fax: 813-657-6415
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1290, Brandon, FL 33509
Veterans (VA) Disability & Social Security Disability