During the Social Security disability benefits process, you will hear a lot of different terminology. It is important to understand what these terms mean, as certain designations can impact your eligibility for benefits. Two terms that can be confusing are Medical Improvement Expected (MIE) and Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE).
MIE and MINE are possible designations for your disability case, and these designations help determine when the SSA will conduct a continuing disability review for your case. These reviews examine whether you still need to be receiving benefits or whether your medical condition has cleared and you can work again.
When a case falls into the MIE category, it means that the SSA might conduct a review within six to 18 months from when your benefits are approved. This is because, based on the information you provided, the SSA expects your condition to improve with time – possibly to the point when you can start working again. If the review takes place and the SSA finds you should be able to work, your benefits can be discontinued.
Your case can also remain as MIE if you still cannot work, but improvement is still expected. It might also have its status switched to Medical Improvement Possible (MIP) or MINE if your condition has worsened or your prognosis changed. Just because your case is categorized as MIE does not mean you will lose your benefits in a few short months.
MINE designations mean that the SSA does not expect your condition to improve enough to allow you to work at any point down the road. MINE cases are expected to remain eligible for benefits until they reach the age of retirement when their disability benefits will stop, and Social Security retirement benefits will commence.
Even if you have a MINE designation, your case still might undergo continuing disability reviews, but they might be few and far between. Some people who fall into the MINE category only undergo review every seven years, instead of every year or 18 months like MIE cases.
Just because you have a MINE case does not mean you will keep receiving benefits without issue indefinitely. You should always cooperate with SSA reviews when they arise, as failing to do so can cause your benefits to be discontinued – even if you still cannot work. When you are notified of an eligibility review, be sure to communicate with the SSA caseworker and provide all of the necessary information to ensure your benefits continue as they should.
Seek Help From a Disability Attorney
Whether your case falls into the MIE or MINE category, it is important to discuss the matter and any disability reviews with an experienced disability benefits lawyer. A lawyer can advocate for continuing benefits if the SSA suspects your condition has improved and can fight for MINE status when appropriate, so you do not have to undergo so many reviews moving forward. These benefits are too important to not have the right legal guidance.