• Christopher Le

Can I keep my Social Security disability benefits if I go to jail or prison?

When a person is facing incarceration or prison there is a possibility they may lose their Social Security Disability benefits. Many times, if an individual is receiving Social Security Disability benefits, one of the biggest concerns they have is whether or not they can keep their disability benefits if they go to jail. Generally speaking, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not pay benefits to someone who is incarcerated. However there are a few exceptions to this general rule. Below are a few frequently asked questions that will help you understand what may happens if you are sent to jail.


How Long Do I Have to Be In Jail or Prison Before SSA Stops My Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are in jail for longer than 1 month your Social Security Disability benefits will be suspended. If you are in jail for less than a month, your benefits will not be affected.

A key component to keep in mind is that in order for your benefits to be suspended you must be in prison for 30 days after your conviction. So if you have not been convicted yet, then your benefits will continue until you have been convicted and served 30 day of prison time.

Will My Dependents Still Receive Their Benefits?

Likely yes. In the majority of cases your dependents will still receive their Social Security Disability benefits while you are in jail as long as you continue to qualify for disability benefits.

When Will My Social Security Disability Benefits Be Reinstated?

Once you are released from prison, you can have your Social Security Disability benefits reinstated the month following your release from jail so long as you still qualify for disability benefits. SSA may still want to see that you are still medically disabled. If SSA finds that your condition has improved, then SSA may take away your Social Security Disability benefits.


The best way to have your benefits reinstated is to contact your local Social Security Office either in person or by phone. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, many of the local offices are closed so you may have to contact your local office by telephone. You will also need to provide proof that you have in fact been released from prison or jail.


Now there is an exception to this reinstatement rule. The exception is if you are in prison for more than 12 months. If you are in prison for more than 12 months, your social security disability benefits will not automatically be reinstated after youve been released from jail. You will likely need to re-file for disability benefits and go through the application process all over again. Although you can re-file a new application on your own, its advised that you seek the services of an experienced lawyer to help you.

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