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Social Security/Disability

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What is it?

If you need financial aid to pay for basic necessities you can call  2-1-1 to find resources that may help. Programs are in place that can provide you financial assistance to cover basic needs.

What do I need to know?

The federal government provides financial assistance to retired persons and people with disabilities.

Listed below are the two federal government programs that can provide assistance if you qualify.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

• SSI provides payments to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 and older, blind or disabled.

Social Security Disability (SSD)

• SSD pays benefits to disabled workers and their families. To be eligible, you must be disabled and must have earned a minimum number of credits from work covered under Social Security. The required number of credits varies depending on your age at the time you become disabled.

• To qualify as disabled, you must be unable to do any kind of substantial, gainful work “due to a physical or mental disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.”

• You are not eligible to receive SSI benefits for any full calendar month you are in prison.

• Social Security has a pre-release procedure you may use to apply for SSI benefits while still in prison. It is not available at all facilities. Check with your case manager at the prison.

• It may take a while to get your benefits. It could take six months or longer.

For information and the number of a branch near you contact:

U.S. Social Security Administration     800-772-1213


Social Security Retirement Benefits

• If you are age 62 or older and have worked enough under the Social Security System, you are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.

• Working “under the table” does not count towards your work requirement for Social Security. You might want to keep this in mind when you are looking for jobs.

• You can receive this financial assistance in addition to unemployment compensation (although it may affect your unemployment benefits).

• You should apply at least 3 months before you want benefits to begin.

• If you choose to receive benefits before age 65, you will not be eligible for Medicare (health insurance) until you turn 65 or unless you qualify based on disability or certain health conditions.

For information and the number of a branch near you contact:

U.S. Social Security Administration     800-772-1213


What happens to my payments if I serve another sentence?

If you are receiving SSI/SSDI and go back to prison your payments may be affected. If you receive SSI are imprisoned for a month, you will not receive the next month’s payment. If you are jailed for 12 consecutive months you will need to submit another application for SSI.

If you are receiving Social Security retirement or disability, your benefits will be stopped if you are institutionalized for more than 30 continuous days after a crime conviction. Although you cannot receive monthly Social Security benefits while you are confined, benefits to your dependent spouse or children will continue as long as they remain eligible.