If you were eligible to receive Social Security benefits in the form of either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, and you have been arrested and convicted of a crime, your incarceration will unfortunately affect your disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration is prohibited from giving payments to incarcerated persons. After your incarceration, however, you may be eligible again to receive those benefits. Here’s how it works.
Supplemental Security Income and Prison
If you were eligible for SSI payments before imprisonment, you will remain eligible during imprisonment, but while in prison you won’t receive any payments. If you are in jail for less than a year you will still be eligible for SSI benefits once you get out.
In fact, if you are in jail for less than 30 days, your SSI benefits will not be affected at all. If you are confined for longer than 12 months, you will have to reapply for Supplemental Security Income benefits.
You may be able to contact the Social Security administration while in prison, if your prison has a prerelease contract. This would allow you to enroll and start receiving benefits sooner, once you have served your time, rather than make you wait until you are out of prison to even apply, and therefore have to wait months before receiving any benefits. You can contact the Social Security administration 90 days before your release date, and it’s possible for you to begin receiving payments as soon as the second month you’re out of prison.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Similar to SSI benefits, if you were eligible for SSDI benefits before incarceration, you will continue to receive those benefits until you have been held on conviction for 30 days or longer. With SSDI, though, whether or not your benefits continue depends on if you are actually convicted of a crime.
Sometimes a person can be held for months before a conviction, and if that happens to you, you will still receive your benefits until or unless there is a conviction. If you’ve received a criminal conviction, and have already served 30 days of jail, your SSDI payments will stop. Once you leave jail, you may be able to resume payments of your SSDI benefits without having to reapply. With SSDI, there is no requirement to reapply after one year. But you do have to still be disabled in order to receive disability checks.
Can My Family Receive Auxiliary SSDI Benefits While I’m In Jail?
Your family can receive auxiliary benefits when you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. If you were receiving SSDI benefits before you were incarcerated, then auxiliary benefits to your family would continue, but benefits to you would not.. If you had not been receiving SSDI benefits prior to your imprisonment, your family would not receive auxiliary benefits while you served time in prison.
Once you’ve been incarcerated, it can be a tough transition to realign back into your community. Social Security benefits can help with medical care and living expenses if you qualify as disabled after prison.