Prior file cannot be located.
(3) Prior file cannot be located. If the prior file cannot be located, we will first determine whether your current impairment(s) is deemed, under appendix 1 of this subpart, sufficient to preclude you from engaging in gainful activity. (In this way, we will be able to determine that your disability continues at the earliest time without addressing the issue of reconstructing prior evidence which can be a lengthy process.) If so, your benefits will continue unless one of the second group of exceptions applies (see paragraph (e) of this section). If not, we will determine whether an attempt should be made to reconstruct those portions of the file that were relevant to our most recent favorable medical decision (e.g., 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, etc.; and whether reconstruction efforts will yield a complete record of the basis for the most recent favorable medical decision. If relevant parts of the prior record are not reconstructed either because it is determined not to attempt reconstruction or because such efforts fail, medical improvement cannot be found. The documentation of your current impairments will provide a basis for any future reviews. If the missing file is later found, it may serve as a basis for reopening any decision under this section in accordance with the rules in 404.988.
20 CFR § 404.1579
(1) The rules for determining whether disability continues for widow's or widower's monthly benefits for months after December 1990 are discussed in §§ 404.1594 through 404.1598. The rules for determining whether disability continues for monthly benefits for months prior to January 1991 are discussed in paragraph (a)(2) of this section and paragraphs (b) through (h) of this section.
(2) If you are entitled to disability benefits as a disabled widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse, and we must decide whether your disability continued or ended for monthly benefits for months prior to January 1991, there are a number of factors we consider in deciding whether your disability continued. We must determine if there has been any medical improvement in your impairment(s) and, if so, whether this medical improvement is related to your ability to work. If your impairment(s) has not so medically improved, we must address whether one or more exceptions applies. If medical improvement related to your ability to work has not occurred and no exception applies, your benefits will continue. Even where medical improvement related to your ability to work has occurred or an exception applies, in most cases (see paragraph (e) of this section for exceptions) before we can find that you are no longer disabled, we must also show that your impairment(s), as shown by current medical evidence, is no longer deemed, under appendix 1 of this subpart, sufficient to preclude you from engaging in gainful activity.