Prisoners and Social Security Disability Benefits

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: December 11th, 2013 | Categories: Social Security Disability

Social Security disability benefits can be paid to people who have recently worked and paid Social Security taxes and are unable to work because of a serious medical condition that is expected to last at least a year or result in death. The fact that a person is a recent parolee or is unemployed does not qualify as a disability.

If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI), your benefits will be suspended if you are admitted for more than 30 continuous days to a jail or prison because you were convicted of a criminal offense. Your benefits can be reinstated starting with the month following the month you are released. Although you cannot receive monthly SSDI benefits while you are confined, benefits to your spouse or children will continue as long as they remain eligible.

If you are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your payments are suspended while you are in prison. Your payments can be reinstated in the month you are released. However, if your confinement lasts for 12 consecutive months or longer, your eligibility for SSI benefits will terminate and you must file a new application for benefits. Similarly, neither SSDI nor SSI benefits can be paid if there is an active warrant for your arrest.

While you are in prison, your eligibility for Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) continues uninterrupted while you are in prison. On the other hand, Medicare Part B (medical insurance) will terminate if you do not pay your monthly premiums while you are in prison. To start Medicare Part B, you will need to file an application with SSA during a general enrollment period, which is January through March of each calendar year. If you file during this enrollment period, your Medicare Part B eligibility will begin on July 1 of that year.

If your Medicaid eligibility was terminated while you were in prison, you will need to contact your local social services office to reapply for Medicaid coverage.

If your SSDI or SSI benefits were suspended because you were in prison, you can request that they be reinstated. You will need to contact Social Security and provide a copy of your release documents before SSA can take action on your request. SSA cannot start your benefits until you are actually released. Further, SSA must have your official release documents from the jail or prison where you were confined. Please remember to bring your release forms when you visit your local Social Security office. This will help SSA get your benefits started more quickly.

If you were not receiving either SSDI or SSI benefits before you went to prison or your benefits were terminated, you will need to file a new application for benefits if you think you may be eligible. You should contact Social Security for more information about filing a claim for benefits. You will need to provide proof of your release from prison, in addition to a new application and other documents.

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