Myth #7: I Don't Need My Benefits as long as I Have a Job, but if I Have to Stop Working, I Won't Be Able to Get My Benefits Back

I’m working right now and am doing pretty well. However, my disability gets worse sometimes and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to get on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if I need them because they’ll say that because I was working, I’m not disabled anymore.

If you are not able to continue working or if you need to work fewer hours, you might be worried about having to go through the long process of applying for benefits again. Luckily, there are some helpful rules that allow your benefits to be restarted without your needing to reapply for benefits.

SSI
  • If you are on the SSI 1619(b) program and your income drops below a certain level, you will be eligible for SSI benefits again without needing to reapply. For information on this, talk to a Benefits Specialist.
  • Once you are no longer eligible for SSI or 1619(b), you may be eligible for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR). If your SSI benefits stopped because of your earnings from work, and you were eligible for SSI within the last 5 years, you can use EXR to begin getting SSI benefits again.
  • To learn more about these, read the DB101 article on Work Incentives.
SSDI
  • The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins the first month after your Trial Work Period ends and it will continue for 36 months (or 3 years) in a row. During this time, if you earn less than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level, you will get your SSDI benefits that month. If you earn more than the SGA level, you will not get SSDI benefits. No new application is required to get your SSDI benefits if your earnings are less than the SGA level.
  • After the EPE ends, you may be eligible for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR). If your Social Security benefits stop because of your earnings, you can use EXR to get your SSDI benefits restarted, if you stopped working within 5 years of the time your benefits ended.
  • To learn more about these, read the DB101 article on Work Incentives.