§ 416.996. Continued disability or blindness benefits pending appeal of a medical cessation determination.

(a) General. If we determine that you are not eligible for disability or blindness benefits because the physical or mental impairment(s) on the basis of which such benefits were payable is found to have ceased, not to have existed, or to no longer be disabling, and you appeal that determination, you may choose to have your disability or blindness benefits, including special cash benefits or special SSI eligibility status under §§ 416.261 and 416.264, continued pending reconsideration and/or a hearing before an administrative law judge on the disability/blindness cessation determination. If you appeal a medical cessation under both title II and title XVI (a concurrent case), the title II claim will be handled in accordance with title II regulations while the title XVI claim will be handled in accordance with the title XVI regulations.

(1) Benefits may be continued under this section only if the determination that your physical or mental impairment(s) has ceased, has never existed, or is no longer disabling is made after October 1984.

(2) Continued benefits under this section will stop effective with the earlier of: (i) The month before the month in which an administrative law judge's hearing decision finds that your physical or mental impairment(s) has ceased, has never existed, or is no longer disabling or the month before the month of a new administrative law judge decision (or final action is taken by the Appeals Council on the administrative law judge's recommended decision) if your case was sent back to an administrative law judge for further action; or (ii) the month before the month in which no timely request for reconsideration or administrative law judge hearing is pending after notification of our initial or reconsideration cessation determination. These benefits may be stopped or adjusted because of certain events (such as, change in income or resources or your living arrangements) which may occur while you are receiving these continued benefits, in accordance with § 416.1336(b).

(b) Statement of choice. If you or another party (see § 416.1432(a)) request reconsideration under § 416.1409 or a hearing before an administrative law judge in accordance with § 416.1433 on our determination that your physical or mental impairment(s) has ceased, has never existed, or is no longer disabling, or if your case is sent back (remanded) to an administrative law judge for further action, we will explain your right to receive continued benefits and ask you to complete a statement indicating that you wish to have benefits continued pending the outcome of the reconsideration or administrative law judge hearing. If you request reconsideration and/or hearing but you do not want to receive continued benefits, we will ask you to complete a statement declining continued benefits indicating that you do not want to have your benefits continued during the appeal. A separate election must be made at each level of appeal.

(c) What you must do to receive continued benefits pending notice of our reconsideration determination. (1) If you want to receive continued benefits pending the outcome of your request for reconsideration, you must request reconsideration and continuation of benefits no later than 10 days after the date you receive the notice of our initial determination that your physical or mental impairment(s) has ceased, has never existed, or is no longer disabling. Reconsideration must be requested as provided in § 416.1409, and you must request continued benefits using a statement in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) If you fail to request reconsideration and continued benefits within the 10-day period required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section, but later ask that we continue your benefits pending a reconsidered determination, we will use the rules in § 416.1411 to determine whether good cause exists for your failing to request benefit continuation within 10 days after receipt of the notice of the initial cessation determination. If you request continued benefits after the 10-day period, we will consider the request to be timely and will pay continued benefits only if good cause for delay is established.

(d) What you must do to receive continued benefits pending an administrative law judge's decision. (1) To receive continued benefits pending an administrative law judge's decision on our reconsideration determination, you must request a hearing and continuation of benefits no later than 10 days after the date you receive the notice of our reconsideration determination that your physical or mental impairment(s) has ceased, has never existed, or is no longer disabling. A hearing must be requested as provided in § 416.1433, and you must request continued benefits using a statement in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.

(2) If you fail to request a hearing and continued benefits within the 10-day period required under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, but you later ask that we continue your benefits pending an administrative law judge's decision, we will use the rules as provided in § 416.1411 to determine whether good cause exists for your failing to request benefit continuation within 10 days after receipt of the reconsideration determination. If you request continued benefits after the 10-day period, we will consider the delayed request to be timely and will pay continued benefits only if good cause for delay is established.

(e) What you must do when your case is remanded to an administrative law judge. If we send back (remand) your case to an administrative law judge for further action under the rules provided in § 416.1477, and the administrative law judge's decision or dismissal order issued on your medical cessation appeal is vacated and is no longer in effect, you may be eligible for continued benefits pending a new decision by the administrative law judge or final action by the Appeals Council on the administrative law judge's recommended decision.

(1) When your case is remanded to an administrative law judge, and you have elected to receive continued benefits, we will contact you to update our file to verify that you continue to meet the nonmedical requirements to receive benefits based on disability or blindness. To determine your correct payment amount, we will ask you to provide information about events such as changes in living arrangements, income, or resources since our last contact with you. If you have returned to work, we will request additional information about this work activity. Unless your earnings cause your income to be too much to receive benefits, your continued benefits will be paid while your appeal of the medical cessation of your disability/blindness is still pending, unless you have completed a trial work period and are engaging in substantial gainful activity. If you have completed a trial work period and previously received continued benefits you may still be eligible for special cash benefits under § 416.261 or special SSI eligibility status under § 416.264. (Effective July 1, 1987, a title XVI individual is no longer subject to a trial work period or cessation based on engaging in substantial gainful activity in order to be eligible for special benefits under § 416.261 or special status under § 416.264.) If we determine that you no longer meet a requirement to receive benefits, we will send you a written notice. The written notice will explain why your continued benefits will not be reinstated or will be for an amount less than you received before the prior administrative law judge's decision. The notice will also explain your right to reconsideration under § 416.1407, if you disagree. If you request a reconsideration, you will have the chance to explain why you believe your benefits should be reinstated or should be at a higher amount. If the final decision on your appeal of your medical cessation is a favorable one, we will send you a written notice in which we will advise you of any right to reentitlement to benefits including special benefits under § 416.261 or special status under § 416.264. If you disagree with our determination on your appeal, you will have the right to appeal this decision.

(2) After we verify that you meet all the nonmedical requirements to receive benefits as stated in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, and if you previously elected to receive continued benefits pending the administrative law judge's decision, we will start continued benefits again. We will send you a notice telling you this. You do not have to complete a request to have these same benefits continued through the month before the month the new decision or order of dismissal is issued by the administrative law judge or through the month before the month the Appeals Council takes final action on the administrative law judge's recommended decision. These continued benefits will begin again with the first month of nonpayment based on the prior administrative law judge hearing decision or dismissal order. Our notice explaining continued benefits will also tell you to report to us any changes or events that affect your receipt of benefits.

(3) When your case is remanded to an administrative law judge, and if you did not previously elect to have benefits continued pending an administrative law judge decision, we will send you a notice telling you that if you want to change that election, you must request to do so no later than 10 days after you receive our notice. If you do make this new election, and after we verify that you meet all the nonmedical requirements as explained in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, benefits will begin with the month of the Appeals Council remand order and will continue as stated in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(4) If a court orders that your case be sent back to us (remanded) and your case is sent to an administrative law judge for further action under the rules provided in § 416.1483, the administrative law judge's decision or dismissal order on your medical cessation appeal is vacated and is no longer in effect. You may be eligible for continued benefits pending a new decision by the administrative law judge or final action by the Appeals Council on the administrative law judge's recommended decision. In these court-remanded cases reaching the administrative law judge, we will follow the same rules provided in paragraph (e) (1), (2), and (3) of this section.

(f) What if your benefits are suspended, reduced or terminated for other reasons. If we determine that your payments should be reduced, suspended or terminated for reasons not connected with your medical condition (see subpart M of Regulations No. 16) benefits may be continued under the procedure described in § 416.1336.

(g) Responsibility to pay back continued benefits. (1) If the final decision of the Secretary affirms the determination that you are not entitled to benefits, you will be asked to pay back any continued benefits you receive. However, you will have the right to ask that you not be required to pay back the benefits as described in the overpayment recovery and waiver provisions of subpart E of this part.

(2) Waiver of recovery of an overpayment resulting from continued benefits to you may be considered as long as the cessation determination was appealed in good faith. We will assume that your appeal was made in good faith and, therefore, you have the right to waiver consideration unless you fail to cooperate in connection with the appeal, e.g., if you fail (without good reason) to give us medical or other evidence we request, or to go for a physical or mental examination when requested, in connection with the appeal. In determining whether you have good cause for failure to cooperate and, thus, whether an appeal was made in good faith, we will take into account any physical, mental, educational, or linguistic limitations (including any lack of facility with the English language) you may have which may have caused your failure to cooperate.

[53 FR 29023, Aug. 2, 1988; 53 FR 39015, Oct. 4, 1988, as amended at 59 FR 1637, Jan. 12, 1994]