Proposed Changes To Social Security Disability Insurance Could Undermine Your Retirement Security, Even If You’re Not Currently Disabled

“The CDR process is onerous,” says Jennifer Burdick, a supervising attorney at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, adding that the vast majority of people have to navigate the CDR process without the assistance of a lawyer.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Elena Botella
February 9, 2020

Tags: Disability Benefits, Social Security Benefits

Organizations mentioned/involved: Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia, Prairie State Legal Services (northern Illinois)


When Community Legal Services works with a client on a CDR, it typically takes between twenty and thirty hours, says Burdick, although some cases require up to eighty hours of legal assistance.

The initial paperwork required in a CDR can include up to 15 pages of questions (“It takes two stamps to send it back,” says Burdick). Timely completion of the form poses a particular challenge for recipients whose disability includes difficulty with memory, cognition, or a behavioral health limitation. And that assumes that the recipient even gets the CDR in the mail as they’re supposed to. “I have a client who’s on dialysis, who hasn’t moved, who hasn’t changed her address, but for some reason she never got her CDR paperwork,” says Spadafore. And it’s not uncommon, says Spadafore, for a CDR to arrive when a recipient is hospitalized. If the Social Security Administration can’t make a decision on a CDR due to insufficient evidence, the recipient has only 10 days to request that their benefits be continued while the case gets more scrutiny.

“I’m personally very concerned about the fact that a population that has already established that they have very severe disabilities is being asked to go through the process more frequently,” says Burdick.