When a family member is incarcerated, serving time in prison, the entire family may suffer intense emotional and financial pressure related to the loss of that person to the state until they can be reunited. Children are specifically impacted financially, emotionally and health-wise as an unintended consequence of existing mass incarceration policies.1

The financial impact on a family is compounded when an incarcerated family member is seeking entitlement on a Title II Social Security Disability claim or is unsure whether they may apply while incarcerated.

Incarceration is Not A Reason To Give Up On SSDI

Many incarcerated individuals wrongly “give up” thinking that incarceration is a bar to all benefits.  As a general rule, the incarcerated individual is barred from receiving monetary benefits on their own record while incarcerated; however, when an incarcerated person’s benefits are suspended, payment of auxiliary benefits will continue to be made (as though the prisoner were receiving benefits) to others who are entitled on the basis of the wages and self-employment income of the incarcerated individual. Specifically, this means that an incarcerated individual’s auxiliary children’s or spouse’s benefits continue, if they are otherwise eligible.


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A Very Complex Situation

These rules are complex and include a provision that if your alleged disabling condition arose during a felony you committed, you cannot be found disabled. Anyone looking to apply for SSDI in an incarceration situation should strongly consider retaining a qualified disability advocate to assist them.

About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled.

1: Kristin Turney, Stress Proliferation Across Generations? Examining the Relationship between Parental Incarceration and Childhood Health, 55 Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 302-319 (2014) (abstract).