20 CFR 416.994a - How we will determine whether your disability continues or ends, and whether you are and have been receiving treatment that is medically necessary and available, disabled children.

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§ 416.994a How we will determine whether your disability continues or ends, and whether you are and have been receiving treatment that is medically necessary and available, disabled children.
(a) Evaluation of continuing disability, in general. There is a statutory requirement that, if you are eligible for disability benefits as a disabled child, your continued eligibility for such benefits must be reviewed periodically. There are a number of factors we consider when we decide whether your disability continues.
(1) We will first consider whether there has been medical improvement in your impairment(s). We define “medical improvement” in paragraph (c) of this section. If there has been no medical improvement, we will find you are still disabled unless one of the exceptions in paragraphs (e) or (f) of this section applies. If there has been medical improvement, we will consider whether the impairments(s) you had at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision now meets or medically or functionally equals the severity of the listing it met or equalled at that time. If so, we will find you are still disabled, unless one of the exceptions in paragraphs (e) or (f) of this section applies. If not, we will consider whether your current impairment(s) are disabling under the rules in § 416.924. These steps are described in more detail in paragraph (b) of this section. Even where medical improvement or an exception applies, in most cases, we will find that your disability has ended only if we also find that you are not currently disabled.
(2) Our determinations and decisions under this section will be made on a neutral basis, without any initial inference as to the presence or absence of disability being drawn from the fact that you have been previously found disabled. We will consider all evidence you submit, as well as all evidence we obtain from your treating physician(s) and other medical and nonmedical sources. What constitutes “evidence” and our procedures for obtaining it are set out in §§ 416.912 through 416.918. Our determination regarding whether your disability continues will be made on the basis of the weight of the evidence.
(b) Sequence of evaluation. To ensure that disability reviews are carried out in a uniform manner, that decisions of continuing disability can be made in the most expeditious and administratively efficient way, and that any decisions to stop disability benefits are made objectively, neutrally, and are fully documented, we follow specific steps in determining whether your disability continues. However, we may skip steps in the sequence if it is clear this would lead to a more prompt finding that your disability continues. For example, we might not consider the issue of medical improvement if it is obvious on the face of the evidence that a current impairment meets the severity of a listed impairment. If we can make a favorable determination or decision at any point in the sequence, we do not review further. The steps are:
(1) Has there been medical improvement in your condition(s)? We will determine whether there has been medical improvement in the impairment(s) you had at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision. (The term medical improvement is defined in paragraph (c) of this section.) If there has been no medical improvement, we will find that your disability continues, unless one of the exceptions to medical improvement described in paragraph (e) or (f) of this section applies.
(i) If one of the first group of exceptions to medical improvement applies, we will proceed to step 3.
(ii) If one of the second group of exceptions to medical improvement applies, we may find that your disability has ended.
(2) Does your impairment(s) still meet or equal the severity of the listed impairment that it met or equaled before? If there has been medical improvement, we will consider whether the impairment(s) that we considered at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision still meets or equals the severity of the listed impairment it met or equaled at that time. In making this decision, we will consider the current severity of the impairment(s) present and documented at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision, and the same listing section used to make that determination or decision as it was written at that time, even if it has since been revised or removed from the Listing of Impairments. If that impairment(s) does not still meet or equal the severity of that listed impairment, we will proceed to the next step. If that impairment(s) still meets or equals the severity of that listed impairment as it was written at that time, we will find that you are still disabled, unless one of the exceptions to medical improvement described in paragraphs (e) or (f) of this section applies.
(i) If one of the first group of exceptions to medical improvement applies, we will proceed to step 3.
(ii) If one of the second group of exceptions to medical improvement applies, we may find that your disability has ended.
(3) Are you currently disabled? If there has been medical improvement in the impairment(s) that we considered at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision, and if that impairment(s) no longer meets or equals the severity of the listed impairment that it met or equaled at that time, we will consider whether you are disabled under the rules in §§ 416.924(c) and (d). In determining whether you are currently disabled, we will consider all impairments you now have, including any you did not have at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision, or that we did not consider at that time. The steps in determining current disability are summarized as follows:
(i) Do you have a severe impairment or combination of impairment? If there has been medical improvement in your impairment(s), or if one of the first group of exceptions applies, we will determine whether your current impairment(s) is severe, as defined in § 416.924(c). If your impairment(s) is not severe, we will find that your disability has ended. If your impairment(s) is severe, we will then consider whether it meets or medically equals the severity of a listed impairment.
(ii) Does your impairment(s) meet or medically equal the severity of any impairment listed in appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of this chapter? If your current impairment(s) meets or medically equals the severity of any listed impairment, as described in §§ 416.925 and 416.926, we will find that your disability continues. If not, we will consider whether it functionally equals the listings.
(iii) Does your impairment(s) functionally equal the listings? If your current impairment(s) functionally equals the listings, as described in § 416.926a, we will find that your disability continues. If not, we will find that your disability has ended.
(c) What we mean by medical improvement. Medical improvement is any decrease in the medical severity of your impairment(s) which was present at the time of the most recent favorable decision that you were disabled or continued to be disabled. Although the decrease in severity may be of any quantity or degree, we will disregard minor changes in your signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings that obviously do not represent medical improvement and could not result in a finding that your disability has ended. A determination that there has been a decrease in medical severity must be based on changes (improvement) in the symptoms, signs, or laboratory findings associated with your impairment(s).
(1) The most recent favorable decision is the latest final determination or decision involving a consideration of the medical evidence and whether you were disabled or continued to be disabled.
(2) The terms symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings are defined in § 416.928. For children, our definitions of the terms symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings may include any abnormalities of physical and mental functioning that we used in making our most recent favorable decision.
(3) Some impairments are subject to temporary remissions, which can give the appearance of medical improvement when in fact there has been none. If you have the kind of impairment that is subject to temporary remissions, we will be careful to consider the longitudinal history of the impairment, including the occurrence of prior remissions and prospects for future worsenings, when we decide whether there has been medical improvement. Improvements that are only temporary will not warrant a finding of medical improvement.
(d) Prior file cannot be located. If we cannot locate your prior file, we will first determine whether you are currently disabled under the sequence set forth in § 416.924. (In this way, we will determine that your benefits continue at the earliest time without reconstructing prior evidence.) If so, your benefits will continue unless one of the second group of exceptions applies (see paragraph (f) of this section). If not, we will determine whether an attempt should be made to reconstruct those portions of the missing file that were relevant to our most recent favorable determination or decision (e.g., school records, medical evidence from treating sources, and the results of consultative examinations). This determination will consider the potential availability of old records in light of their age, whether the source of the evidence is still in operation, and whether reconstruction efforts will yield a complete record of the basis for the most recent favorable decision. If relevant parts of the prior record are not reconstructed, either because we decide not to attempt reconstruction or because our efforts failed, we will not find that you have medically improved. The documentation of your current impairment(s) will provide a basis for any future reviews. If the missing file is later found, it may serve as a basis for reopening any determination or decision under this section, in accordance with § 416.1488.
(e) First group of exceptions to medical improvement. The law provides certain limited situations when your disability can be found to have ended even though medical improvement has not occurred, if your impairment(s) no longer results in marked and severe functional limitations. These exceptions to medical improvement are intended to provide a way of finding that a person is no longer disabled in those situations where, even though there has been no decrease in severity of the impairment(s), evidence shows that the person should no longer be considered disabled or never should have been considered disabled. If one of these exceptions applies, we must also show that your impairment(s) does not now result in marked and severe functional limitations, before we can find you are no longer disabled, taking all your current impairments into account, not just those that existed at the time of our most recent favorable determination or decision. The evidence we gather will serve as the basis for the finding that an exception applies.
(1) Substantial evidence shows that, based on new or improved diagnostic techniques or evaluations, your impairment(s) is not as disabling as it was considered to be at the time of the most recent favorable decision. Changing methodologies and advances in medical and other diagnostic techniques or evaluations have given rise to, and will continue to give rise to, improved methods for determining the causes of (i.e., diagnosing) and measuring and documenting the effects of various impairments on children and their functioning. Where, by such new or improved methods, substantial evidence shows that your impairment(s) is not as severe as was determined at the time of our most recent favorable decision, such evidence may serve as a basis for a finding that you are no longer disabled, provided that you do not currently have an impairment(s) that meets, medically equals, or functionally equals the listings, and therefore results in marked and severe functional limitations. In order to be used under this exception, however, the new or improved techniques must have become generally available after the date of our most recent favorable decision.
(i) How we will determine which methods are new or improved techniques and when they become generally available. New or improved diagnostic techniques or evaluations will come to our attention by several methods. In reviewing cases, we often become aware of new techniques when their results are presented as evidence. Such techniques and evaluations are also discussed and acknowledged in medical literature by medical professional groups and other governmental entities. Through these sources, we develop listings of new techniques and when they become generally available. For example, we will consult the Health Care Financing Administration for its experience regarding when a technique is recognized for payment under Medicare and when they began paying for the technique.
(ii) How you will know which methods are new or improved techniques and when they become generally available. We will let you know which methods we consider to be new or improved techniques and when they become available through two vehicles.
(A) Some of the future changes in the Listing of Impairments in appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of this chapter will be based on new or improved diagnostic or evaluative techniques. Such listings changes will clearly state this fact as they are published as Notices of Proposed Rulemaking and the new or improved technique will be considered generally available as of the date of the final publication of that particular listing in the Federal Register.
(B) From time to time, we will publish in the Federal Register cumulative lists of new or approved diagnostic techniques or evaluations that have been in use since 1970, how they changed the evaluation of the applicable impairment and the month and year they became generally available. We will include any changes in the Listing of Impairments published in the Code of Federal Regulations since 1970 that are reflective of new or improved techniques. We will not process any cases under this exception using a new or improved diagnostic technique that we have not included in a published notice until we have published an updated cumulative list. The period between publications will be determined by the volume of changes needed.
(2) Substantial evidence demonstrates that any prior disability decision was in error. We will apply the exception to medical improvement based on error if substantial evidence (which may be evidence on the record at the time any prior determination or decision of the entitlement to benefits based on disability was made, or newly obtained evidence which relates to that determination or decision) demonstrates that a prior determination or decision (of allowance or continuance) was in error. A prior determination or decision will be found in error only if:
(i) Substantial evidence shows on its face that the determination or decision in question should not have been made (e.g., the evidence in your file, such as pulmonary function study values, was misread, or an adjudicative standard, such as a listing in appendix 1 of subpart P of part 404 of this chapter, was misapplied).
(ii) At the time of the prior evaluation, required and material evidence of the severity of your impairment(s) was missing. That evidence becomes available upon review, and substantial evidence demonstrates that, had such evidence been present at the time of the prior determination or decision, disability would not have been found.
(iii) New substantial evidence that relates to the prior determination or decision refutes the conclusions that were based upon the prior evidence at the time of that determination or decision (e.g., a tumor thought to be malignant was later shown to have actually been benign). Substantial evidence must show that, had the new evidence (which relates to the prior determination or decision) been considered at the time of the prior determination or decision, the claim would not have been allowed or continued. A substitution of current judgment for that used in the prior favorable determination or decision will not be the basis for applying this exception.
(iv) The exception for error will not be applied retroactively under the conditions set out above unless the conditions for reopening the prior decision (see §§ 416.1488 and 416.1489) are met.
(f) Second group of exceptions to medical improvement. In addition to the first group of exceptions to medical improvement, the following exceptions may result in a determination or decision that you are no longer disabled. In these situations, the determination or decision will be made without a finding that you have demonstrated medical improvement or that you are currently not disabled under the rules in § 416.924. There is no set point in the continuing disability review sequence described in paragraph (b) of this section at which we must consider these exceptions; exceptions in the second group may be considered at any point in the process.
(1) A prior determination or decision was fraudulently obtained. If we find that any prior favorable determination or decision was obtained by fraud, we may find that you are not disabled. In addition, we may reopen your claim under the rules in § 416.1488. In determining whether a prior favorable determination or decision was fraudulently obtained, we will take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) which you may have had at the time.
(2) You do not cooperate with us. If there is a question about whether you continue to be disabled and we ask you to give us medical or other evidence or to go for a physical or mental examination by a certain date, we will find that your disability has ended if you fail, without good cause, to do what we ask. Section 416.1411 explains the factors we consider and how we will determine generally whether you have good cause for failure to cooperate. In addition, § 416.918 discusses how we determine whether you have good cause for failing to attend a consultative examination. The month in which your disability ends will be the first month in which you failed to do what we asked.
(3) We are unable to find you. If there is a question about whether you continue to be disabled and we are unable to find you to resolve the question, we will suspend your payments. The month your payments are suspended will be the first month in which the question arose and we could not find you.
(4) You fail to follow prescribed treatment which would be expected to improve your impairment(s) so that it no longer results in marked and severe functional limitations. If treatment has been prescribed for you which would be expected to improve your impairment(s) so that it no longer results in marked and severe functional limitations, you must follow that treatment in order to be paid benefits. If you are not following that treatment and you do not have good cause for failing to follow that treatment, we will find that your disability has ended (see § 416.930(c)). The month your disability ends will be the first month in which you failed to follow the prescribed treatment.
(g) The month in which we will find you are no longer disabled. If the evidence shows that you are no longer disabled, we will find that your disability ended in the following month—
(1) The month the evidence shows that you are no longer disabled under the rules set out in this section, and you were disabled only for a specified period of time in the past;
(2) The month the evidence shows that you are no longer disabled under the rules set out in this section, but not earlier than the month in which we mail you a notice saying that the information we have shows that you are not disabled;
(3) The month in which you return to, or begin, full-time work with no significant medical restrictions, and acknowledge that medical improvement has occurred, and we expected your impairment(s) to improve (see § 416.991);
(4) The first month in which you fail without good cause to follow prescribed treatment, when the rule set out in paragraph (f)(4) of this section applies;
(5) The first month in which you were told by your physician that you could return to normal activities, provided there is no substantial conflict between your physician's and your statements regarding your awareness of your capacity, and the earlier date is supported by substantial evidence; or
(6) The first month in which you failed without good cause to do what we asked, when the rule set out in paragraph (f)(2) of this section applies.
(h) Before we stop your benefits. If we find you are no longer disabled, before we stop your benefits, we will give you a chance to explain why we should not do so. Subparts M and N of this part describe your rights and the procedures we will follow.
(i) Requirement for treatment that is medically necessary and available. If you have a representative payee, the representative payee must, at the time of the continuing disability review, present evidence demonstrating that you are and have been receiving treatment, to the extent considered medically necessary and available, for the condition(s) that was the basis for providing you with SSI benefits, unless we determine that requiring your representative payee to provide such evidence would be inappropriate or unnecessary considering the nature of your impairment(s). If your representative payee refuses without good cause to comply with this requirement, and if we decide that it is in your best interests, we may pay your benefits to another representative payee or to you directly.
(1) What we mean by treatment that is medically necessary. Treatment that is medically necessary means treatment that is expected to improve or restore your functioning and that was prescribed by a treating source, as defined in § 416.902. If you do not have a treating source, we will decide whether there is treatment that is medically necessary that could have been prescribed by a treating source. The treatment may include (but is not limited to)—
(i) Medical management;
(ii) Psychological or psychosocial counseling;
(iii) Physical therapy; and
(iv) Home therapy, such as administering oxygen or giving injections.
(2) How we will consider whether medically necessary treatment is available. When we decide whether medically necessary treatment is available, we will consider such things as (but not limited to)—
(i) The location of an institution or facility or place where treatment, services, or resources could be provided to you in relationship to where you reside;
(ii) The availability and cost of transportation for you and your payee to the place of treatment;
(iii) Your general health, including your ability to travel for the treatment;
(iv) The capacity of an institution or facility to accept you for appropriate treatment;
(v) The cost of any necessary medications or treatments that are not paid for by Medicaid or another insurer or source; and
(vi) The availability of local community resources (e.g., clinics, charitable organizations, public assistance agencies) that would provide free treatment or funds to cover treatment.
(3) When we will not require evidence of treatment that is medically necessary and available. We will not require your representative payee to present evidence that you are and have been receiving treatment if we find that the condition(s) that was the basis for providing you benefits is not amenable to treatment.
(4) Removal of a payee who does not provide evidence that a child is and has been receiving treatment that is medically necessary and available. If your representative payee refuses without good cause to provide evidence that you are and have been receiving treatment that is medically necessary and available, we may, if it is in your best interests, suspend payment of benefits to the representative payee, and pay benefits to another payee or to you. When we decide whether your representative payee had good cause, we will consider factors such as the acceptable reasons for failure to follow prescribed treatment in § 416.930(c) and other factors similar to those describing good cause for missing deadlines in § 416.1411.
(5) If you do not have a representative payee. If you do not have a representative payee and we make your payments directly to you, the provisions of this paragraph do not apply to you. However, we may still decide that you are failing to follow prescribed treatment under the provisions of § 416.930, if the requirements of that section are met.
[56 FR 5562, Feb. 11, 1991; 56 FR 13266, 13365, Apr. 1, 1991, as amended at 58 FR 47586, Sept. 9, 1993; 59 FR 1637, Jan. 12, 1994; 62 FR 6430, Feb. 11, 1997; 62 FR 13538, 13733, Mar. 21, 1997; 65 FR 16815, Mar. 30, 2000; 65 FR 54790, Sept. 11, 2000]

Title 20 published on 2014-04-01

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  • 2014-07-18; vol. 79 # 138 - Friday, July 18, 2014
    1. 79 FR 41881 - Extension of Expiration Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
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      Final rule.
      This final rule is effective July 18, 2014.
      20 CFR Parts 404 and 416

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Title 20 published on 2014-04-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 20 CFR 416 after this date.

  • 2014-07-18; vol. 79 # 138 - Friday, July 18, 2014
    1. 79 FR 41881 - Extension of Expiration Date for Temporary Pilot Program Setting the Time and Place for a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
      Final rule.
      This final rule is effective July 18, 2014.
      20 CFR Parts 404 and 416