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What happens to your SSDI benefits while you’re incarcerated?

| Sep 13, 2021 | SSDI

If you’re like most people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because you have one or more disabling medical conditions, then you likely count on that money every month to support yourself and maybe your family. Now you’ve been convicted of a crime and are facing time behind bars. What happens to your SSDI payments? 

If you’re facing time in jail, prison or another institution for a criminal offense, then your financial obligations likely won’t disappear. You may have family members to support. You may still need to pay rent, utilities and other expenses that will continue during your lockup. 

The length of your incarceration is key

If your sentence is for more than 30 continuous days, there will be a suspension of your SSDI benefits starting the month your incarceration begins. The reasoning is pretty simple. For the time you’re behind bars, your detention – not your disability – is preventing you from working.

You are required to notify SSA of your incarceration. It’s never wise not to inform them of your incarceration. You could be risking losing your future benefits by violating their terms.

What happens when your incarceration ends?

Once you’re released, you’ll need to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) and provide proof of your release for your benefits to be reinstated the following month. The good news is that you won’t be required to reapply or prove that you still qualify.

If your family members receive SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, those benefits won’t be affected by your incarceration. They may be able to obtain additional benefits if they’re going to be losing your financial support for a time. It’s essential to determine what options are available if they have difficulty obtaining the needed financial support or getting your SSDI benefits reinstated after your release.