SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
If I am Awarded Social Security Disability Will My Benefits be Cutoff Later?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
There is always the possibility that Social Security will cut off your disability benefits, if your continuing disability review (CDR) shows that either a) you are now earning the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount each month; or b) your medical records indicate significant improvement in the medical condition or conditions for which you were awarded disability.
The Social Security Administration likes to encourage recipients to rejoin the workforce if they feel up to it, and so it allows them to try working again without penalty. Social Security allows you a nine-month trial work period, during which you can earn as much as you are able, above and beyond the established SGA amount. (Keep in mind that this is not 9 consecutive months, but 9 months that could be scattered over a period of 5 years, so be sure to keep track. Even if you haven’t worked in 2 or 3 years and decide to try out a temporary job, if it is the tenth month out of the past 5 years in which you’ve earned the SGA amount, your benefits will be suspended.)
After 9 months of substantial gainful work activity, your benefits are suspended, and a 36-month extended period of eligibility (EPE) goes into effect. During the EPE, you can stop work if your medical condition once again deteriorates, and your disability benefits will be reinstated, regardless of your salary at the time. However, if after 36 months you are still able to work, your disability is cut off.
Yet even this termination of benefits is not necessarily final. You have five years to work “keeping one foot in the door,” so to speak. At any time during the five years from the date your benefits were cut off, you can apply for an “expedited reinstatement” of your benefits if the medical conditions for which you were originally awarded disability are now severe enough to prevent you from performing work at a substantial gainful level.
Social Security will honor an expedited reinstatement for 6 months, during which time you will continue to collect disability while the examiner reviews your current medical records for evidence of a worsening in your condition or a return of symptoms.
That said, the majority of people who are approved for disability do not return to work, and continue to collect benefits until they either reach the age of full retirement, or until their death. CDRs do not normally result in cutting off benefits to those who have already been approved unless there has been significant medical improvement or significant work activity on the part of the claimant.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page