Can I Continue to Receive My Benefits After I Go to Prison?

Many disabled Americans depend on their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. But what happens to benefits if someone receiving them is convinced of a crime?

Generally speaking, when you go to prison, or another institution for committing a crime, monthly SSDI and SSI payments are unavailable. Additionally, an individual who received these payments prior to their incarceration are not automatically eligible to receive them after they have been released.

Here’s what you need to know about reinstating your SSD or SSI payments after release from prison or jail.

SSD Benefits

Individuals who receive SSD payments but are convicted of a crime and sent to either prison or jail for more than 30 consecutive days, will have their payments suspended. A convicted felon can apply for benefits while still imprisoned if the penal institution has a pre-release application procedure (and possibly an agreement with the Social Security Administration providing for pre-release applications).

However, if not, an individual may be eligible for the reinstatement of these payments in the month after you have been released. The benefits would be paid in the month after the one in which they are due, so you would receive these payments beginning two months after your release.

However, for individuals who have a spouse or children dependent upon your monthly SSD payments, so long as they retain their eligibility, they may be able to continue to receive these payments while you are incarcerated.

SSI Benefits

As for SSI benefits, they will be suspended during your incarceration, but can be reinstated the same month that you are released. Should your incarceration extend to 12 or more consecutive months, these benefits will be terminated, leaving you only with the option to submit a new application to start receiving benefits again after your release.

Reinstating Benefits

In order to apply for reinstatement of your SSD or SSI benefits that were suspended upon your prison sentence, you must submit a copy of your release documents as well as much medical documentation to the Social Security Administration in order for them to process your request. Since the Administration commonly denies disability claims, it may be in your best interest to first consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Disability Attorney.

Although individuals who have felony convictions are not prevented from being eligible for Social Security benefits, there are some exceptions. Individuals are ineligible for Social Security Disability benefits if:

  • You incurred your disability or worsened it while committing a felony
  • You incurred your disability or worsened it while imprisoned for a felony conviction

Should you find yourself in one of the above situations, you should still apply for SSD benefits, as even though you will not receive cash benefits, you could receive a period of disability, “freezing” your earnings record for Social Security, and preventing your eventual benefits from decreasing.

Convicted felons are not entitled to any of these benefits if they flee or escape. In other words, individuals are not entitled to benefits if they have an outstanding warrant for any of the following:

  • Escape from custody
  • Flight to avoid prosecution or confinement
  • Flight escape

If you are found guilty of violating the terms of your parole or probation, you are not entitled to any benefits during that same month.

Disability Attorneys of Michigan Can Help

Disability Attorneys of Michigan works hard every day helping the disabled of Michigan seek the Social Security Disability Benefits they need. If you are unable to work due to a physical, mental, or cognitive impairment, call Disability Attorneys of Michigan now for a free consultation at 800-949-2900.

Let Michigan’s experienced Social Security Disability law firm help you get the benefits you deserve

I will never forget you and the hard work you did to secure my Social Security Disability benefits. Thank you!

- Christine C.