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dylatess, ATTORNEY
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 3441
Experience:  37 plus years of SSD practice
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I have read conflicting things on the government web site

Customer Question

I have read conflicting things on the government web site regarding incarceration and collecting SS benefits. In one section it says if your are incarcerated for CONVICTION of a criminal act you cannot collect. In another is simply says if your are incarcerated for more than 30 days period. I have a relative in jail pending trial for 3 months because he cannot make bail. He has not been convicted of anything. He has not received checks since being jailed. It doesn't make sense because if he had made bail he would still be getting his checks. So which is it? Do you need to be serving time for a conviction to lose your checks or simply be incarcerated and waiting for trIal? If I post bail, will he begin getting his checks?
JA: These retirement benefits are supposed to help us but they can be so complicated! The Retirement Expert will help you get the most benefits propertly. Is there anything else important you think the Accountant should know?
Customer: He is 75 years old and trial set for September. From your response it doesn't seem you actually read the question. Seems a canned response.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  emc011075 replied 2 months ago.

Hi. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to help you.

It depends what type of benefits is he receiving. Regular social security benefits are suspended after 30 days in prison, disability and supplemental security income (SSI) are terminated immediately. At 75 he is not receiving disability but he may be receiving SSI (low income retirees benefits) and that could be the reason why his benefits were suspended immediately.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No he only gets regular SS but this doesn't really answer my question. He is awaiting trial and has not been convicted of anything. Just awaiting trial. He went in on April 4 and April way the last check he got, none for May, June or July. SS site says "Social Security benefits are suspended if an otherwise eligible person is confined in a jail, prison, or other penal institution for more than 30 continuous days due to conviction of a crime." He has not been convicted, only awaiting trial. Has SS made a mistake since he has not been convicted, or is their site wrong? If the site is I bail him out, will he begin to get his checks again. Never mind. I don't think you can help me and don't want to pay anymore.
Expert:  emc011075 replied 2 months ago.

Social security does not know why he is in jail and that why he needs to contact social security. Social security got notified that he is in jail and stopped his benefits. Social security does not investigate who is convicted, innocent or in jail because he could not pay the bail. The website is not wrong and nobody made a mistake. He needs to call social security or, if he is out on bail, go to the local social security office to show that he has not been convicted.