Human Resources: Why Expedited Reinstatement May Matter to Your Nonprofit
As an attorney and advocate for people with disabilities, I often hear questions like these: “If I return to work, I could lose my Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. So, what happens if I find out that working is more than I bargained for? Can I return to my benefits? If so, how difficult is that?”
Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) is a program that allows an individual with disabilities—who lost a job or is incapable of performing the work for which he or she was hired—attempt to get benefits reinstated without a lengthy reapplication process. It is one of many “work incentives” offered by Social Security. EXR may also provide peace of mind to the nonprofit leader or manager who, for the first time, is considering hiring a qualified applicant with a disability.
What Is EXR?
EXR is a safety net for people who successfully return to work and lose their entitlement to SSD or SSI benefits and payments. If an individual’s cash payments ended because of work and earnings above what Social Security views as the “substantial gainful activity” amount (currently $740 per month), and the individual must later stop work within five years of when benefits ended, he or she may contact Social Security to apply for EXR.
How can EXR help your employee with a disability?
If your employee has stopped receiving benefits due to your work, but is later unable to perform the job due to disability, the EXR provision allows him or her to receive up to six months of temporary cash benefits while a medical review is conducted to decide if benefits can be reinstated. He or she may also be eligible for Medicare and/or Medicaid during the provisional benefit period.
Who is eligible for EXR?
An employee who is only able to work limited hours because of disability, or whose employment ends because of disability, can be reinstated as an SSI recipient using EXR if he or she meets all of the following conditions:
- The employee’s previous entitlement to SSD benefits was terminated after finishing a nine-month trial work period and the extended period of eligibility was allowed by the Social Security Administration, due to work.
- The employee’s previous SSI disability or blindness eligibility was terminated because of excess earned income or a combination of earned and unearned income.
- The employee or former employee is not performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) in the month he or she applies for EXR.
- The employee is unable to work at the SGA level due to his or her medical condition.
- The employee or former employee has a current medical impairment that is the same as, or related to, the original disabling condition for which he or she was previously granted SSI or SSD.
- The employee or former employee requests EXR from the Social Security Administration in writing within five years from the month benefits previously stopped due to work.
To learn more about work incentives for people with disabilities and incentives and resources for employers who hire them, visit choosework.net or yourtickettowork.com.
Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Esq. is a staff attorney with the Philadelphia-based Disability Rights Pennsylvania. She is also a regular contributor to NonProfit PRO, writing the Legal Matters column.