Are Prisoners Entitled to Social Security Benefits?

A recent Social Security case I got involved in brought this issue to my attention for the first time. My client, who had received Social Security disability benefits in the past, had not received any benefits during his incarceration in prison, and wanted to reinstate his benefits now that he had been released. I researched the issue and found the following:

Federal regulations provide that no monthly benefits will be paid for any month in which an individual is confined in a jail, prison, or other penal institution for conviction of a felony. If a prisoner’s benefits are suspended while in jail, he or she must contact Social Security officials and provide them with a copy of the release documents in order to restart benefits.

Even though a convicted prisoner cannot receive Social Security benefits, the prisoner’s spouse and children may still receive benefits on the prisoner’s records.

For more information on Social Security and prisoners, the Social Security website is helpful – What Prisioners Should Know About Social Security