New York Civil Rights & Criminal Defense Lawyers

Can prisoners in New York receive Social Security benefits?

Prisoners in the US aren’t able to collect Social Security benefits until they are out of prison. The No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009 is the legislation that made prisoners as well as those who violate parole ineligible for Social Security.

Prisoner’s rights

Prisoners have rights in the US, such as freedom from cruel and unusual punishment. They also have the right to medical care, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Prisoner’s rights don’t include Social Security payments.

Retroactive benefits

The No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009 banned retroactive benefits too. You have to wait until you’re out of prison to begin receiving retroactive payments again.

Awaiting trial

You will receive Social Security Benefits while you’re awaiting trial. They only freeze when a judge sentences you to prison.

Disability benefits

Prisoners aren’t eligible to receive disability benefits while in prison. You can, however, apply before your release. Approved Social Security disability benefits start either five full calendar months or one full calendar month after your release, depending on which is longer.

For those who were on disability before their sentencing, they will need to reapply if they stay 12 months or longer in prison.

Insanity and mental disease

The No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009 prohibits institutionalized people from receiving payments as well. Thus, if a court finds someone to be insane or suffering from a mental disorder, this isn’t going to change the result on Social Security.

Spouse or child

If you have a dependent spouse or child who receives your Social Security checks, then they will continue collecting them.

The law that governs Social Security benefits is a federal one. Regardless of which state you live in, the same rules apply. You can’t receive payments while you’re in prison, but you may apply in order to secure a faster start to collecting Social Security once you finish serving your time.




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