Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Reinstating Social Security Benefits After Incarceration

People who are required to serve a month or more in jail or prison may find it upsetting to learn that they will no longer receive Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The Social Security Administration states:

We cannot pay benefits to someone who, by court order, is confined in an institution at public expense in connection with a criminal case.

When individuals are wards of the state, it is difficult to make the argument that they are still eligible for SSA support. Those subject to incarceration have everything—medical, food, and shelter—taken care of already. While a loss of benefits isn’t a welcome reality for those serving time, the good news is that in most cases payments will begin again upon release provided however that the length of stay is less than 12-months.

It stands to reason that people receiving disability checks before jail will often require the same assistance after serving time. With that in mind, the administration provides several resources online to help steer such individuals in the right direction after release.

Reinstating Social Security Benefits

The SSA points out people who serve more than a year in a public institution must file a new application and be reapproved for SSI or SSDI. There are mechanisms in place to prepare people for release regarding reinstating benefits. Many prisons have a prerelease agreement with the Social Security Administration, allowing inmates to get the ball rolling 90 days before the scheduled release date. If everything goes ideally, upon release benefits will recommence. If you would like more information on statewide prerelease agreements, please click here.

People who are not serving a sentence in non-prerelease agreement facility should call 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to schedule an appointment to apply for benefits.

It is worth noting that some inmates are required to enter sober living homes or halfway houses upon release, which are often under the control of the Department of Corrections. As a result, residents of such programs are not eligible for benefits; because, they are still under the supervision and custody of the state.

The amount of time it takes to restore benefits varies from case to case, here are three things people should know:
  • If Social Security benefits were only suspended, benefits could begin anew with minimal delay.
  • If benefits were terminated, benefits could take a few months to resume; hence the need for preapproval agreements that mitigate the risk of coverage lapses.
  • If SSI benefits were terminated, a new application and disability determination are required, and a decision could take from three to five months.

SSI and SSDI Benefits Assistance

Applying for benefits under any circumstances can lead to complications, reinstating SSI and SSDI isn’t any different. If you are struggling to reacquire support from Social Security, The Driscoll Law Corporation could be of assistance. Please contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more.

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