Social Security Disability (SSDI or SSD) benefits are approved when an applicant meets all the eligibility requirements. The eligibility requirements include both medical and financial criteria. If an SSDI recipient becomes ineligible for SSDI benefits because of a change in their circumstances, benefit payments can be suspended. Those benefits can be reinstated when the claimant returns to both medical and financial eligibility.
At London Disability, we have built years of expertise in getting suspended SSDI reinstated for claimants in circumstances where the original suspension was proper or where the suspension of benefits was unjustified. Our team of SSDI and SSI professional advocates and lawyers want you to have all the information you need to understand how SSDI benefit suspension and reinstatement works.
What Causes SSDI Benefits to Be Suspended?
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) rules and regulations limit SSDI benefit payments to applicants who have accumulated sufficient “work credits,” who are disabled under the following definition:
Claimant/Recipient has a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has or is expected to last 12 months or more that prevents them from performing substantial gainful activities (SGA).
After being initially approved for SSDI benefit payments, an SSDI recipient can have benefits suspended because of any one of these events:
1). SSDI claimant’s qualified impairment has medically improved.
2). SSDI claimant earns more than the SSDI program’s SGA income level ($1,350/month in 2022).
3). SSA can’t locate the SSDI recipient after mail sent is returned as undeliverable or other loss of contact.
4). SSDI recipient’s representative payee died (suspended while new payee is being identified).
5). SSDI recipient is incarcerated for more than 30 days.
6). SSDI recipient failed to comply with periodic Continuing Disability Review (CDR) requests.
Reinstating SSDI Benefits After Suspension for Medical Improvement
If your physical or mental impairment improves after your original SSDI disability determination, you may be deemed no longer eligible for SSDI because your condition no longer prevents you from earning more than the monthly SGA level ($1,350 in 2022 for non-blind) set by the SSA.
Benefits can be reinstated when you or your SSDI attorney submit new or updated medical evidence documenting that your condition worsened and again prevents you from earning the income set as the SGA. The evidence will be sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. The impairment must be the same one relied upon in your original SSDI application, or one closely related. (Example: a herniated disc that is not the same herniated disc cited in your first application.)
Reinstating SSDI Benefits After Returning to Work
If your benefit payments were suspended because you returned to work and you continued working and earning wages above the SGA for longer than the nine-month Trial Work Period (TWP) and you are still within the 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE), you can resume benefits immediately after your original disability again forces you to stop or reduce work, reducing your earnings below the SGA.
If your SSDI benefits were suspended because you returned to work, and no more than 60 months have elapsed since you last received SSDI benefits, the reoccurrence of your disabling condition entitles you to apply for Expedited Reinstatement (EXR).
Expedited Reinstatement for SSDI Recipients Who Returned to Work
Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) is available to those whose benefits were suspended because they returned to work earning more than the SGA. These former SSDI recipients have up to 60 months from the date of their last SSDI benefits payment to file for Expedited Reinstatement which provides immediate provisional SSDI benefit payments for up to 6 months while the SSA considers the new information you submit with your request for reinstatement.
If your request to reinstate your SSDI benefits is ultimately denied, you may keep the provisional benefits money you received during the 6-month Expedited Reinstatement period.
Reinstating SSDI Benefits After Death of Representative Payee or Lost Address
When a representative payee passes away or there is an address change that results in the SSDI losing touch with the claimant, the SSA has no option other than suspending payments until it resolves these issues. The government won’t continue to make benefit payments if it has no reliable information about whom to pay and where to send payment, even with direct deposit.
To reinstate the benefit payments in these cases, the claimant or an authorized agent must contact the SSA and notify them of the new address of the recipient or that of the newly identified representative payee.
Reinstating SSDI After Incarceration Ends
SSDI benefit payments are suspended when a benefits recipient is incarcerated for more than 30 consecutive days. To reinstate SSDI benefits when the incarcerated person is released, the recipient must convey their prison release documents to the SSA. During the Coronavirus Pandemic, the documents may be left in a designated drop-box or transmitted to SSA in another way. Your SSDI lawyer or advocate will be able to direct you.
Once a formerly incarcerated person provides proof of their release to the SSA, benefit payments will resume for the month following the month in which the claimant regained eligibility.
If an SSDI recipient is incarcerated for more than 12 months, they will need to reapply for benefits because their benefits will have been terminated, not just suspended.
Appealing a Denial of SSDI Benefits Reinstatement
A denial of your request to reinstate SSDI benefits must be filed with 60 days. Contact an experienced SSDI and SSI advocate or attorney like London Disability for help with all your SSDI questions.