Published May, 2001
SSI Benefits Eligibility: Underpayments to Prisoners and Other Check Related Prisoner Issues, Social Security Administration
This SSA manual excerpt discusses the appropriate methods of providing SSI underpayments to prisoners, alternative methods for paying underpayments while the prisoner is incarcerated, and the procedures for redeeming SSI benefit checks that are received at correctional institutions. Generally, prisoners are not eligible for SSI during their incarceration (for more information see SSAs fact sheet What Prisoners Should Know About Social Security at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10133.pdf). SSA must pay underpayments to prisoners incurred during their period of eligible. As a matter of policy, SSA exhausts every alternate method of payment before issuing a paper check to an incarcerated person at an institution because such payments cause severe public relations problems. Instead, SSA will request that the prisoner have the checked issued to a bank account or obtain a temporary mailing address for the prisoner other than the institution. The prisoner has to agree to these alternatives -- if not, SSA must issue the underpayment to the recipient at the correctional institution. This sheet also addresses the steps an institution should take if an inmate is receiving benefits. While the institution should contact the SSA, it should not intercept the check.
Copyright Information: CHLP encourages the broad use and sharing of resources. Please credit CHLP when using these materials or their content. and do not alter, adapt or present as your work without prior permission from CHLP.
Legal Disclaimer: CHLP makes an effort to ensure legal information is correct and current, but the law is regularly changing, and the accuracy of the information provided cannot be guaranteed. The legal information in a given resource may not be applicable to all situations and is not—and should not be relied upon—as a substitute for legal advice.