mother and childThe Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two forms of disability benefits: Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Both benefit options allow dependent family members of an eligible claimant to qualify for partial benefits—also known as auxiliary benefits—to compensate for familial lost income. However, dependents are subject to the same rules and restrictions as the claimant, at least to a certain extent.

Effects of Imprisonment on Disability

One of the disability limitations the SSA enforces is that claimants who are convicted of a crime and sent to prison are no longer eligible to receive benefits. This stipulation covers people who currently receive benefits as well as those who wish to apply while incarcerated. If benefits are already issued, they're suspended until your release. New applications will be rejected, despite eligibility, if pursued while in jail.

Unfortunately, the effects of your incarceration may affect your dependents’ eligibility as well. 

Disability Benefit Qualifications for Family Members

Although the SSA regulations state dependents are subject to the same rules as the claimant, when it comes to incarceration, the SSA provides an exception for dependents, depending on the circumstances of the claim.

  • If your application for disability is filed during your confinement, your potential dependents won't be eligible for auxiliary benefits until the time of your release. However, if your spouse is approved for disability benefits, your incarceration won't affect your children’s eligibility for approval under her claim.
  • If you’ve received benefits until your imprisonment, and your dependents received auxiliary payments, yours are suspended, but your family’s benefits continue. It’s important to note that their benefit amount may decrease as a result of your benefit suspension, but they’ll still qualify to receive partial payments. 

Sharing Your Concern

Do you think it’s fair that your loved ones are forced to face the consequences of your actions? Is it justified that they can’t receive benefits because you’re the one in jail? Should qualified dependents be allowed to receive benefits, regardless of your confinement?

Let us know your thoughts about disability law and prisoner limitations in the comment section provided. We’re eager to see how you feel, and your comments have the added bonus of helping others in your predicament better understand the effects imprisonment has on disability. 

For more information on prisoner disability rights and how to reinstate benefits after your release, contact the law offices of Johnson & Gilbert, P.A. Attorneys Frank R. Johnson and J. Lance Gilbert have spent their careers fighting for those who can’t help themselves. Call or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.


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