Accelerated Reinstatement (EXR) is a social security scheme designed to provide a financial safety net for people leaving disability benefits because they have returned to work. With EXR, former beneficiaries may be able to quickly restart invalidity payments if their medical condition forces them to stop or severely restrict work activity again.
EXR is one of a series work incentives Social security offers to help disabled people get into or return to the workforce. Unlike many of these programs, it is available to recipients of both social security-managed services for people with disabilities: Social insurance disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplementary security income (SSI).
You can apply for EXR if your earned income falls below the social security limits for active beneficiaries within five years of the termination of your benefits. If the request is granted, you do not have to submit a new application for benefits and you may be able to receive payments again immediately.
Who can get EXR?
Because Social Security largely defines disability as one medical condition that prevents you from working, it sets strict limits on how much you can earn on a job or self-employed and still charge disability benefits.
To receive SSDI, your earned income must not exceed a level that Social Security is considering “significant profitable activity”, or SGA. For 2022, the ceiling is $ 1,350 a month or $ 2,260 a month if you are legally blind.
SSI has more complicated income rules, which involves several exceptions and takes into account money from non-working sources such as investment returns or public services. The bottom line in 2022 is that you will lose SSI if your earnings exceed $ 1,767 per month. (There may be different limits if you have both earned and non-earned income.)
To be eligible for expedited resumption, you must meet all of these criteria:
- You lost your SSDI or SSI within the previous five years because your earnings exceeded the ceiling of the relevant program.
- You are again unable to perform work sufficient to exceed the SGA limit due to a condition that meets Social Security’s definition of disability.
- The disability that prevents you from working is the same as the one you originally received benefits for, or is a closely related condition.
How to reintroduce disability pension
To request expedited resumption, you must complete a package of forms that vary depending on your circumstances. Forms SSA-371 and SSA-372 are applications for reintroducing SSDI and SSI benefits, respectively. You may also need to submit papers describing your work history and medical condition, including documentation.
Contact Social Security to find out which forms are relevant to you. The agency can send them to you or help you fill them out electronically.
After requesting EXR, you can receive up to six months of provisional or temporary benefits, while Social Security determines whether you are eligible for reinstatement. These could start as soon as the month after you applied for EXR, and they are usually non-refundable even if your request for EXR is ultimately rejected.
Provisional benefits can end in less than six months if Social Security makes a decision on your EXR request, your earnings exceed the SGA limit, or you reach full retirement age.
This is how accelerated reinstatement works
If your request is approved, enter what is called the Initial Reinstatement Period (IRP). During that time, you can receive up to a 24-month disability pension in months where your earnings fall below the income limit. The months do not have to be continuous, which means that your income may be above the limit for some months and below it for others.
Once you have received 24 months disability payments, the IRP ends. At that point, if you are still eligible for SSDI services, you qualify for a new one trial work period – an opportunity to try to work at SGA level consistently without losing your benefits. During the probationary period, you can earn above the SGA limit for up to nine months over a five-year period without losing your benefits. (Trial work is only an SSDI incentive; it is not available to people who receive SSI.)
The end of an IRP also resets the EXR clock: If your benefits again cease due to your earnings, you will receive a new five-year eligibility period for extended reinstatement.