How to Reopen Social Security Disability Benefits After Receiving Benefits for a Closed Period

Disability claims can be reinstated without a new application.
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If you lose Social Security benefits from a closed period disability due to improvement of your condition or ability to work -- but are later unable to work as a result of the same disability -- you can request reinstatement of benefits without submitting a new application. What’s even better is you may receive cash and medical benefits immediately while the Social Security Administration is processing your request. You qualify to request reinstatement when you make the request within 60 months of losing your original benefits.

Step 1

Gather documents that support your eligibility for benefit reinstatement. These include documents that verify your total monthly income, and medical records that state you have an inability to maintain substantial gainful activity, due to your medical condition. Your medical condition must be the same as, or connected to, your original disability.

Step 2

Go to your local Social Security office and request reinstatement of your disability benefits.

Step 3

Receive forms and instructions from the Social Security office. Although you’re not required to complete a new application for benefits, you will have to complete a short Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits form. You'll receive this form from the Social Security office agent. As of the date of publication, this form is not available online, and your request for reinstatement must be made in person at your local Social Security office. The Social Security agent will tell you the types of personal documents you need to provide to process your request that prove your medical condition and eligibility for benefits. You'll also provide these documents in person at your local Social Security office.

Step 4

Receive provisional benefits while your case is being processed. Benefits begin in the month following your request for reinstatement. You’ll receive cash benefits in the same amount you previously received, plus Medicare or Medicaid benefits. You’ll receive these provisional benefits until your case processing is complete, or for up to six months, whichever comes first. In most cases, you won’t be required to repay any provisional benefits – even if your request is denied.

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