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Can prisoners receive SSDI in New Jersey?

This blog has discussed various aspects of the process by which individuals may apply for and receive benefits through the federal Social Security Disability Insurance program. We have covered the basics of what a disability is, how one may go about showing one is disabled and has an inability to work, and how long the disability must be expected to last. In this post, we will take a look at something that may occur after one has been approved for disability benefits: potential incarceration.

One of the aspects of living in our modern society is that we are all subject to a fairly complex web of laws and regulations that govern certain behavior that society deems deserving of punishment. Sometimes individuals, even those with disabilities, may run afoul of the criminal justice system, whether due to drug use or a poor financial situation. When this does occur, there is a possibility that a disabled individual will be required to spend time in a penal institution. How does this affect his or her SSDI benefits?

Federal law prohibits the Social Security Administration from paying monthly benefits to persons who are incarcerated at public expense for more than 30 days. This means that a disabled individual who is incarcerated for over 30 days across two different calendar months may lose both months' worth of benefits. The type of crime for which the person was convicted is generally irrelevant; the contention is that the person's needs are being met while in custody and he or she therefore does not require the SSDI benefits he or she had been receiving. If, however, family members were receiving benefits as well, those benefits would continue, assuming of course the family members are not also incarcerated.

Also, individuals who are fleeing custody, have active warrants or are in violation of probation may also not receive benefits. There are some differences in the timing of when benefits stop between SSDI and SSI, and determining the time period for which one has a right to receive benefits may be tricky. Anyone with questions about how a criminal conviction may affect his or her benefits may wish to consider talking to an experienced New Jersey disability attorney.

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