Medical Improvement

Medical Improvement: "To support a finding of medical improvement, there must be a decrease in the medical severity of any one of the impairment(s) present at the time of the CPD (comparison point decision).  There need not be any particular quantity or degree of decreased severity, but, of course changes which are of minor degree and which in themselves obviously do not increase mobility or physical or mental abilities will be disregarded.  Further, changes in test results which are within the precision variance of a particular test will likewise be disregarded" POMS D12 8010.0 10

Related to the ability to work: Medical improvement must be related to the individual's ability to work.  If the improvement is not related to the ability to work, or if the medical improvement does not make the individual able to engage in SGA, benefits will not be terminated.

The medical improvement is related to the ability to work when it results in "an increase in (the claimant's) functional capacity to do basic work activities".

SSA will consider the individual's age and amount of time out of the work force - the older a person is and the longer they have been away from the work force, the more difficult it will be for a person to return to ongoing employment.

SSA will do a special assessment for persons aged 50 or over who has been receiving benefits for a long time.  This assessment may include a special work evaluation or other appropriate testing.

Comparison Points: To determine medical improvement at step 3, there must be a comparison between the individual's current condition and the impairments which were present at the most recent favorable medical decision of disability.