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Can You Claim Benefits in Prison?

Can You Claim Benefits in Prison?

When advocating for criminal justice and prison reform, I often hear people claim that prison inmates have a good life. For some reason, some people think that prison inmates are fine because they eat three meals a day and have somewhere to sleep at night.

I also hear people talk about how prisoners work out in the gym all the time and how they must be better than the poor and working class in the free world. I’ve even heard that prison inmates get benefits while incarcerated. But is it really true? Can you claim benefits while in prison?

In today’s blog post, I will cover the following topics:

  • Prison inmates can’t apply for Social Security or unemployment benefits
  • What happens to Medicare and Medicaid benefits when you are in prison?
  • Can prison inmates get stimulus checks?
  • Prison Inmate and Veterans Benefits

Prison inmates can’t apply for Social Security or unemployment benefits

according to Social Security AdministrationSocial Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are generally not paid for the month you are incarcerated for a crime.

If you received Social Security when you were convicted, your benefits will be suspended if you go to jail for more than 30 consecutive days. You can resume your benefits beginning the month following the month you were released. However, if you are incarcerated for more than 12 months, your eligibility for SSI benefits will be terminated and you will have to file a new application after your release.

The Social Security office cannot start sending you benefits until you are released. They must have official release papers from the jail or jail where you were held.

I should point out that even if an inmate does not receive monthly Social Security benefits while incarcerated, the spousal or child benefits will continue as long as they remain eligible.

Individuals released from incarceration may be eligible for Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits if they have worked or paid enough years of Social Security. They may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits if they are 65 years of age or older, blind or disabled, and have little or no income and resources.

Once prisoners know their release date, prison caseworkers can help start the application process for Social Security or SSI benefits. If the agency has a pre-release agreement with the local Social Security office, they will notify them if the prisoner may qualify for SSI or disability benefits. Prisoners can submit applications months before expected release so the SS office can begin processing and benefits can begin as soon as possible.

With regard to unemployment benefits, prisoners are also not entitled to unemployment benefits while incarcerated. But being a felon doesn’t make anyone ineligible for unemployment benefits after they get out of prison — as long as they meet all other requirements.

What happens to Medicare and Medicaid benefits when you are in prison?

If you are incarcerated, Medicare usually will not pay for your hospital or medical bills. If you were on Medicare while you were in prison, your Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) coverage will continue. However, to maintain Part B (medical insurance) coverage, you must pay monthly premiums.

If your insurance ends because you are in or out of prison and you do not pay your premium. After release, you will be able to register during the general registration period.You will be responsible for any unpaid overdue premiums and you may be required to pay Part B late registration penalty.

If your Medicaid eligibility ends while you are in prison, you must contact your local social services office to apply for Medicaid coverage after your release.

Can prison inmates get stimulus checks?

The November 2020 deadline has passed, so there is no longer a place on the IRS website for non-filers to enter their payment information. For prison inmates who did file their 2019 tax returns, the deadline has still passed, but there is hope. Yes, Prison inmates could get stimulus checksbut they must be done in the form of tax rebates.

In order for an inmate to receive the $600 and $1,200 payments already issued, you must file a 2020 tax return for your inmate. You can report zero income (if they didn’t make any money last year) and claim a “recovery rebate” tax credit.

By law, the first payment of $1,200 and the second payment of $600 are only advances on the line of credit.according to MSN.comthe eligibility rules for reinstating rebate credits are nearly identical to those for receiving first and second stimulus checks.

The only difference is that stimulus check eligibility is based on information from 2018 and 2019 tax returns. Eligibility for the reinstatement credit is based on information on your 2020 tax return.

In general, prisoners are eligible to apply for a reinstatement refund in 2020 if they:

  • is a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien,
  • Cannot claim to be dependent on someone else’s tax return
  • Have a social security number valid for work that was issued before the due date of your 2020 tax return (including extensions)

If the inmate is the head of household, paying child support, or married filing jointly, see the IRS website for more can also Try this MSN article This will cover prisoners with spouses and dependents in more detail.

Prison Inmate and Veterans Benefits

Some incarcerated veterans may be eligible for VA benefits, including Disability Compensation, pension, education and training, health care, Housing Loans, Insurance, Veteran Readiness and Employmentand funeral. However, many VA benefits are affected by incarceration.

If a veteran is convicted of a felony and incarcerated for more than 60 days, the VA disability compensation is reduced. Compensation payments may resume once veterans are released from prison.

There will be no reduction in payments for recipients participating in the Work Release Program, living in a halfway house, or being supervised. Veterans receiving VA pensions will have their payments terminated on the 61st day after their incarceration. Veterans will be reinstated upon release if they meet eligibility requirements.

Please visit VA Veteran page to learn more about the benefits available to all incarcerated veterans.

Are you a felon receiving benefits after serving your sentence? Tell us your story in the comments below.


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