Getting Past the Myths

Myth 7: If My Benefits Stop, I'll Never Get Them Again

I’m doing pretty well at work, but my disability gets worse sometimes. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get SSI or SSDI if I need them. Will they think I'm not disabled because I was working?

If you are not able to keep working or if you need to work fewer hours, you might worry about going through the long process of applying for benefits again.

However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) have rules to help people who work. These may allow your benefits to be restarted without your having to reapply.

  • If you are on the SSI 1619(b) program and your income drops below a certain level, you are eligible for SSI benefits again without needing to reapply. For information on this, talk to a Benefits Planner.
  • Once you are no longer eligible for SSI or 1619(b), you may be eligible for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR). If your earnings from work cause your SSI benefits to stop and you were eligible for SSI within the last five years, you can use EXR to begin getting SSI benefits again.
  • To learn more about these, read Social Security's article on SSI Work Benefits and DB101's SSI article.
  • The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins the first month after your Trial Work Period ends; the EPE lasts for 36 months (three years) in a row. During this time, if you earn less than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level in a month you get your SSDI benefits that month. If you earn more than the SGA level, you don't get SSDI benefits. You don't need to reapply to get your SSDI benefits if your earnings are below the SGA level.
  • After the EPE ends, you may be eligible for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR). If you no longer earn the amount that caused your benefits to end and your benefits ended less than five years ago, you can use EXR to get your SSDI benefits restarted.
  • To learn more about these, read Social Security’s page about work incentives and DB101’s SSDI article.

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