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Assisting SSI and SSDI Beneficiaries with Form SSA-455: Disability Update Report

Here is guidance on assisting beneficiaries with completing the SSA-455: Disability Update Report.

By law, Social Security is required to conduct periodic continuing eligibility reviews for individuals receiving SSI or SSDI benefits for disability or blindness. These reviews are called Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) or redeterminations (in the case of age-18 reviews) and are required at least every 3 years except when a disability is found to be permanent.  

About the SSA-455

Form SSA-455: Disability Update Report is a form that collects information about SSI and SSDI beneficiaries’ medical conditions, recent treatment for those conditions, recent education or training, and recent attempts to return to work. “Recent” typically means within the last two years.  

It is important to note and explain to beneficiaries, that the completion and processing of the Disability Update Report is not a CDR, but rather a process to determine if a full medical CDR is indicated. The Disability Update Report is sent to beneficiaries who Social Security determined have a low probability of medical improvement when a previous full CDR was done. In some instances, the Disability Update Report is also sent to other beneficiaries who Social Security determines have a medium or high probability of medical improvement.  

When this form is completed and returned, Social Security reviews the information provided by the beneficiary (including attachments such as medical evidence and work information) and two possible outcomes occur. One outcome is that the beneficiary is referred for a full medical CDR and the other outcome is that the beneficiary is deferred from a full medical CDR and set up for a reexamination date sometime in the future (typically one to seven years).  

Completing the SSA-455

SOAR-trained caseworkers can assist beneficiaries by educating them about the purpose of this form and the importance of completing it thoroughly and returning it promptly. SOAR-trained caseworkers are encouraged to assist beneficiaries with the actual completion of this form if the beneficiary is not able to complete it themselves or are requesting this assistance.

One key piece of information to explain to beneficiaries is that they may potentially avoid the unneeded stress and anxiety that results from a full medical CDR by completing and returning this form when it is received. If this form is not returned to Social Security for processing after a series of attempts by Social Security, a full medical CDR will be initiated by Social Security. 

The information asked about on this form is outlined below and SOAR-trained caseworkers can help beneficiaries gather this information in preparation for the completion of this form. Note that the “report period” referenced in the questions below will be provided by Social Security on the Disability Update Report mailed to the beneficiary. 

Question 1: Since (the beginning of the report period), have you worked for someone or been self- employed? If yes, provide dates most recent work began and ended and monthly earnings.  

Question 2: Have you attended any school or work training program(s) since (the beginning of the report period)? Yes or No  

Question 3: Since (the beginning of the report period), have you and your doctor discussed whether you can work, and if so, what did the doctor tell you? Yes or No  

Question 4: Place an “X” in only one box (labeled Better, Same, and Worse) which best describes your health now as compared to (the beginning of the report period). 

Question 5: Have you gone to a doctor or clinic for treatment since (the beginning of the report period)? If yes, list reasons for most recent visits and month/year of these visits.  

Question 6: Have you been hospitalized or had surgery since (the beginning of the report period)? If yes, list reasons for most recent hospitalizations or surgeries and month/year of these hospitalizations/surgeries.  

Remarks: Space that can be used to further answer questions 1 through 6. 

Submitting the SSA-455

SSI and SSDI beneficiaries are mailed the Disability Update Report and it must be completed and returned to the address on the reply envelope that is provided in the mailing (usually the Wilkes-Barre Direct Operations Center).

This form can now also be completed online here: https://secure.ssa.gov/ssa455/front-end/. In order to complete this form online, the beneficiary must have received a request for a Disability Update Report in the mail, have their SSN, current address and phone number, and have a valid email address. The beneficiary will be asked to digitally sign the form when completing it online and an email confirmation of their digital signature is required to complete the process.