Extended Period of Eligibility

For additional information visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov or call the Ticket Helpline 1-866-968-7842.

Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)

What is the EPE? The EPE begins the month after the Trial Work Period (TWP) ends, even if you are not working that month. The first 36 months of the EPE is the re-entitlement period.
How does the EPE help you? During the 36-month re-entitlement period, you get benefits for all months your earnings or work activities are below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment. Social Security suspends cash benefits for months your earnings are over the SGA level. If your earnings fall below the SGA level in the re-entitlement period, Social Security can start your benefits again.
What happens the first time you work above SGA? The first time that you work above SGA in the EPE, Social Security will decide that you no longer meet the requirements for disability due to work, and they say that your disability ”ceased”. They will pay benefits for the month your disability ceased and the following 2 months. They call this the grace period. If your earnings fall below SGA and you are still in the 36-month re-entitlement period, they can restart your benefits without a new application.
Can you continue to receive benefits after the 36-month re-entitlement period ends? If you are not working above SGA and are eligible for a benefit payment for the 37th month of the EPE, you will continue to receive benefits until you:

  • Work a month at the SGA level, or
  • Medically recover.
What happens if you work after the re-entitlement period ends? Your benefits will end if you work above SGA after the 36-month re-entitlement period. However you may be able to start your benefits again if you stop work within the next 5 years (see EXR on EXPEDITED REINSTATEMENT.)
Do you get an EPE under Supplemental Security Income? No. The EPE applies only to persons who receive Social Security Disability Insurance cash benefits.

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