Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits is offered by the Social Security Administration for the purpose of removing obstacles to returning to work. It is designed to address fears that Social Security Disability recipients have about not being able to receive benefits again (or having to wait several months again) if they lose their job or find that they are incapable of performing the work for which they were hired.
If you qualify for expedited reinstatement, the Social Security Administration will pay you provisional benefits for six months while they examine your case to determine whether you are still eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. Even if you are determined to be ineligible, the SSA will not generally require you to repay any provisional benefits which have been paid to you. The exception to this is fraud. If you commit fraud in order to obtain expedited reinstatement, you may be ordered to repay the Social Security Disability benefits which were paid to you under the expedited reinstatement program.
You qualify for expedited reinstatement of benefits if you were receiving Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI or SSI), became disqualified for continued benefits because you found gainful employment (currently $1,000/ month of income), then lost your income while still disabled. To qualify, you must apply for expedited reinstatement within five years of losing your Social Security Disability benefits due to gainful employment.
To apply for expedited reinstatement of your Social Security Disability benefits, you need to contact the Social Security Administration and set up an appointment to discuss your situation with a representative. You can contact the SSA by phone, through their website, or by stopping in to one of the SSA’s Field Offices.
Most expedited reinstatement applicants find that the process is fast and fairly simple. You will need to fill out some simple paperwork (nothing like your original application for Social Security disability benefits), and you will need to speak briefly with a Social Security Administration representative.
Make sure to keep your appointment. The purpose of expedited reinstatement is to ensure that you're able to start receiving benefits immediately if your disability has not improved, and that you are no longer able to earn income. The Social Security Administration rarely denies these requests, as long as they are made within the five year window from the time you were first disqualified for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you do have any difficulty being approved for expedited reinstatement of benefits, and believe you are eligible for the program, consider contacting a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney, as they will be able to offer you the best information and assistance in moving your expedited reinstatement claim forward. While you can represent yourself, most people find it advantageous to have a professional social Security Disability representative to help walk them through the process and to represent them at any meetings or hearings.
In certain circumstances, you may be advised to file a new claim instead of an expedited reinstatement. At times, this may be your better option. A Social Security Disability attorney can go over your options with you and help you decide which route is more advantageous.
It is important to note that you may not use expedited reinstatement until you have been receiving Social Security Disability benefits again for at least two years. During those two years, if you find gainful employment, you may still be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits if you are unable to keep or perform the job, but you will have to follow the normal claims process instead of receiving an expedited reinstatement.