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1.7 What is the Extended Period of Eligibility?

The Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins the month after the Trial Work Period (TWP) ends, even if you are working that month. The first 36 months of the EPE is the re-entitlement period. The EPE allows you to resume receiving benefits if you are not working during the re-entitlement period. During the 36 month re-entitlement period, benefits are paid for months in which your earnings (or work activities) are below the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level as long as you continue to have a disabling impairment. Benefits are suspended for months in which your earnings are more than the SGA level. SSA will restart your benefits within the re-entitlement period if your earnings fall below the SGA level. A new application and/or disability determination is not required to start your benefits again.

If SSA learns you worked above SGA in the EPE for the first time and are continuing to engage in SGA, you will be paid for the first month your benefits stop due to SGA and the following two months. This is referred to as the grace period. If your earnings fall below SGA and are you are still in the 36-month re-entitlement period, benefits can be reinstated without a new application. If you are not working above SGA and are eligible for a benefit payment for the 37th month, you will continue to be eligible for benefits until you work a month at the SGA level or medically recover.