Arrested? What Prisoners Need to Know About Their SSDI Benefits While In Jail

Arrested? What Prisoners Need to Know About Their SSDI Benefits While In Jail

Jail Time and SSDI Benefits
Are you available for SSDI benefits while in jail?

Getting your Social Security Disability Insurance application approved can seem like quite the challenge. The majority of initial applications are denied, requiring most applicants to seek approval for their benefits via the appeal process. Because of this, the last thing you’ll want to do is lose your benefits after they have been approved. Unfortunately, this can happen — especially if you are arrested. The following are a few questions that you may have in regards to your benefits while in jail.

Will you lose your benefits if arrested?

If you’re arrested, odds are you’ll have a lot on your mind. Can you afford an attorney? Will you go to jail? How long will you go to jail for? What will your family do while you are in jail? Unfortunately, you’ll also need to worry about your SSDI benefits. However, it’s worth noting that just because you are arrested, it won’t mean that your benefits will stop.

Just because you have been arrested does not mean that you will be convicted.

This means that if you’ve been arrested for something that you have not done — and you are cleared of all charges, then you will not have to worry about losing your benefits. It doesn’t matter how long you are in jail following your arrest. If you are not convicted, your SSDI benefits will remain intact.

Will you lose your benefits while in jail?

Although you won’t automatically lose your SSDI benefits if you are arrested, you could be in danger of losing them if you are convicted. However, it will depend on the sentence.

If you are convicted but are simply fined or required to do community service, then you will be able to keep your SSDI benefits. In fact, the only way that you risk losing them is if you will be sentenced to time in jail.

Therefore, you won’t automatically lose your benefits while in jail following a conviction. As long as you spend fewer than 30 days in jail after you’ve been convicted, you will remain eligible for SSDI benefits. You may also continue collecting them on a monthly basis. Be that as it may, if you are in jail for more than 30 days, your benefits will be suspended.

Why? Because if you are in jail for longer than 30 days the reason you can no longer earn an income isn’t because of a disability, it’s because you are in jail.

Whether you have a disability or not, you can’t work while you’re incarcerated. Not to mention that since you are incarcerated, you don’t need an income to pay for food and shelter.

Can you just avoid informing the Social Security Administration?

The Social Security Administration doesn’t have the resources to look into every person receiving benefits on a periodic basis. This means that technically speaking, you could continue to collect your SSDI payments while incarcerated if you don’t notify them. In fact, there have been many accounts of prisoners collecting SSDI benefits for much longer than 30 days.

The thing is, according to your agreement with the Social Security Administration, it is your duty to notify them if you’ve been incarcerated. If you don’t, it’s a breech of your contract.  Furthermore, you could face punishment which will most likely result in the termination of your SSDI benefits. This could be difficult to overturn, especially once you are released from prison, leaving you in quite a bind.

Don’t think that you can get away with it either. You might think that the Social Security Administration may never find out about your incarceration. Nonetheless, the Social Security Administration actually has agreements in place with many prison systems.

These agreements essentially require prisons to report any prisoners that they have found to be collecting SSDI payments well past their 30-day incarceration period to the Social Security Administration. In return, the Social Security Administration pays out a reward – a finder’s fee of sorts.

Can your family collect benefits while you’re in jail?

If you face a jail sentence for more than 30 days, one of your biggest concerns might include what will happen to your family that relies on your SSDI benefits to live.

Fortunately, it shouldn’t affect your dependents. For example, if your spouse was collecting their own payments from your account before your incarceration, then their benefits should continue while you are incarcerated.

Will you have to reapply for SSDI?

If your SSDI benefits become suspended, you may want to know whether you can begin collecting your benefits again after your release. Fortunately, as long as you remain disabled and incapable of working, you can have your SSDI benefits reinstated as soon as you are released from prison. This means that you will not have to go through the process of re-applying for SSDI benefits. Which can be very time-consuming and which you will most likely be unable to afford to wait on.

Still, it’s worth noting that your SSDI benefits will not automatically resume right after your release. You need to contact the Social Security Administration and notify them of your release. This means that you will have to locate and contact your local Social Security Administration office in order to provide them with a copy of your release documents. Only then can they begin the process of reinstating your SSDI benefits.

However, even though your benefits are reinstated, it doesn’t mean that will get paid immediately. Why? Because benefits get paid on the first of each month. It then takes a month for payments to be released after approved for reinstatement.

For example, your release date from jail was May 3rd. Since the date was after the start of the month, you do not qualify for benefits for the month of May. In the same respect, you also don’t qualify for benefits in June. This is because once reinstated, benefits do not get released for payment until the following month for which they are due. Which means that you eve n though you get released on May 3rd, you won’t get your benefits until July.

Your SSDI benefits while in jail

It’s important that you understand what will happen to your SSDI benefits while in jail. You may lose them depending on the length of your incarceration. But, it shouldn’t affect your family. Especially, if they depend on your benefits to live. Additionally, even if you do lose your SSDI benefits because you’ve been convicted of a crime, it’s important to understand that it’s not permanent.

Following your release, your benefits can be reinstated without having to reapply. Simply put – it’s not worth attempting to trick the Social Security Administration by not notifying them you’re in jail.

If you were recently arrested and are worried about the state of your SSDI benefits then schedule a free consultation with us. You can reach us 24/7 via chat or by calling (602) 952-3200.



The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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