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Social Security answers


Thanks to our lead Social Security attorney, Mark Papa, for expanding on a few recent questions submitted to our blog. His detailed explanation is below. If you have any questions regarding your benefits, please give us a call or submit your comment. A disabled individual receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits who is imprisoned more than 30 continuous days to a jail or prison because of a conviction of a criminal offense, will have his or her SSD benefits suspended. Benefits can be reinstated starting with the month following the month of release. “Auxiliary benefits” (those benefits that flow to a spouse or children by virtue of the disabled individual) will continue so long as the spouse of children remain eligible. A disabled individual receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will have his or her SSI benefits suspended while in prison. Benefits can be reinstated in the month of release. However, if confinement lasts for 12 consecutive months or longer, eligibility for SSI benefits will terminate and a new application for SSI benefits will have to be filed. We also received an inquiry about whether or not a spouse or children of an incarcerated claimant can “stand in the shoes” of a claimant whose claim for disability benefits are pending, but became incarcerated before a decision is made. First, in order for “auxiliary benefits” to flow, there must be a finding of disability and a finding that the incarcerated claimant was entitled to benefits. I am not aware of any provision within the Social Security Disability law that prevents an ongoing claim from moving forward based upon incarceration. In fact, I recently conducted an SSD hearing for a client/claimant who became incarcerated during the pendency of his Social Security claim. Therefore, I believe in these instances, the claim should move forward and if a finding of disability is made and even though the incarcerated claimant may not be entitled to benefits, the spouse and children may.

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