Supplemental Security Income payments and incarceration

Jail bars

After fighting to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), most people don’t want to have to go through the process another time. For some recipients, though, being incarcerated means they will have to go through the application process again.

When a person is incarcerated, his or her SSI benefits are suspended. If the incarceration lasts longer than one year, recipients will have to go through the application process again if they believe they still qualify for benefits. If the incarceration is less than a year, recipients can have benefits reinstated in the month they are released. A copy of the recipient’s release documents must be provided for reinstatement to be considered.

It is important to ensure that you still qualify for SSI when you are released from prison. SSI is meant for people who have income and resources below certain set limits. You must also be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old to qualify for SSI.

In some cases, people who need to apply for SSI can do so from prison once they know their release date. Some prisons have a prerelease agreement with Social Security that will enable the applicant to apply while incarcerated. The benefit to this is that the application is already started so the wait for benefits might not be as long.

Going through the application process while you are incarcerated isn’t easy. If you have help from someone who isn’t incarcerated, he or she might help you to get your application going. Knowing what information you need to gather and learning about the procedures for applying might make it easier on you.