We recently discussed the option to file a request for expedited reinstatement if you tried to return to work, but your disability makes continuing to do so impossible, and fewer than five years have passed since your benefits stopped. If approved, expedited reinstatement allows you to resume benefits faster than you would if you had to file a new disability application.
Once you file you expedited reinstatement request, the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends your claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS will examine your medical records to see if you still suffer from the same condition and if your condition has improved since you were first approved for disability benefits. If you have improved, this improvement must be directly related to your ability to maintain employment above the substantial gainful activity (SGA) threshold.
Since it can take a while for DDS to review your claim and come to a conclusion, SSA will pay you provisional benefits for up to six months. In most cases, these benefits, which include cash payments and Medicare coverage, never have to be repaid, even if your request for reinstatement is ultimately denied.
These provisional payments will stop if you reach full retirement age and automatically begin collecting retirement benefits before DDS reached a decision or if you work and earn income above the SGA threshold. Unfortunately, if it takes DDS longer than six months to determine your claim, the provisional benefits will still stop after that period.
Please know that if your spouse or children were receiving benefits on your work record, these benefits can resume when your expedited reinstatement has been approved, but that will not happen automatically. Instead, you will have to request that their benefits resume via mail, telephone, or online.