Incarceration: What It Means For Your Social Security Disability Benefits

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits While I’m in Jail?

The rules for getting Social Security benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) while in jail depend on whether you receive Social Security Disability Insurance under Title II (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI (SSI).

SSI:

If you receive SSI, you will stop receiving monthly benefits after you are in jail for a full calendar month.

For example: You are sent to jail on April 5, 2011.  You stay in jail for 60 days.  You will stop receiving your monthly benefits beginning in May 2011.

SSDI:

If you receive SSDI, you will stop receiving monthly benefits if you remain in jail for more than 30 days after your conviction date. You stop receiving your monthly benefits the month after you are in jail.

For example: You are sent to jail on April 5, 2011.  You are convicted on April 12, 2011 and sentenced to stay in jail for 90 days.  You will stop receiving your monthly benefits beginning in May 2011.

Can I Receive Social Security Benefits After I Get Out of Prison?

Yes.  You, or the prison, should contact SSA before you get out from prison.  As soon as you know when you will be out of prison, ask if the prison has a pre-release agreement for you with SSA.

  • If the prison has a pre-release agreement for you with SSA, the prison may contact SSA for you.
  • If the prison does not have a pre-release agreement for you with SSA, you need to contact SSA at 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and give them your Social Security number and your expected release date.

When Do I Start Receiving Social Security Benefits Again After I’m Out of Prison?

Once you are out from prison, you need to give SSA proof of your release from prison.  The earliest you may start receiving your Social Security disability payments is the month after you are out of prison.

For more information about how jail changes your disability benefits, please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/.

If you have any further questions, please contact your local SSA office or an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.

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