Social Security Disability Benefits and Prison

29/10/18 0

Submitted by:  Eric Minghella

If you or someone you love is incarcerated and on Social Security disability benefits, it’s likely your benefits will be affected while you’re serving your sentence. Thousands of people on Social Security disability serve prison sentences just like the able-bodied population, so the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resources available for people on disability benefits who go to prison. Here’s how your monthly benefits will be affected when you serve time:
Do You Keep Receiving Benefits?
You will not continue to receive benefits if you’re in prison for 30 days or longer, but it’ll be easy to reinstate benefits once you’re released. Those on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) qualify for rapid reinstatement as soon as they’re released, so long as the status of your disability hasn’t changed. Those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also be eligible for rapid reinstatement, so long as they weren’t incarcerated for over a year. After 12 months, you’ll need to reapply for SSI once you’re released.
The good news is if you’re on SSDI benefits and you have a dependent family member receiving additional benefits on your behalf, such as a spouse or a minor child, they’ll continue to receive their monthly payments while you’re in prison.
What About Health Insurance?
Most people on SSDI or SSI will be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid respectively. Those on Medicare Part A will maintain health insurance eligibility without any interruptions. Those on Medicare Part B will lose Part B of their benefits unless they continue to pay their monthly premiums.
Medicaid is a little trickier because it’s awarded on a state-by-state basis. You’ll need to contact your local Medicaid office to ensure you’ll remain enrolled in the plan, but you can get a referral form to provide to your local social services office from the SSA’s website.
When Can I Reapply?
The best time to reapply to get your disability benefits reinstated is as soon as you receive your prison release records. You may receive this paperwork up to 60 days before you’re actually released from prison. While you won’t be able to receive benefits before you’re released, you can still apply with the release paperwork so the SSA can get started on processing your claim. This is a great way to ensure that your benefits will start as soon as you’re released. If you don’t have a prerelease agreement, you can still start the process as soon as you think you’ll be released.
To get started with reapplying for Social Security disability after you’re released from a correctional facility, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 or reapply online through your My Social Security Account. A family member can also make an appointment to apply on your behalf at your closest Social Security office. Good times to call the SSA are first thing in the morning (7-8 A.M.), as wait times become very long throughout the day.
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