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Can I file for SSI-related benefits if I am incarcerated?

Not every case in which a New Jersey resident is seeking Supplemental Security Income is simple. Everyone's situation is different and there are myriad factors that must be considered when filing an application for SSI-related benefits. One circumstance that presents challenges is if a person who believes he or she is eligible for SSI based on a disability, blindness, being 65 or older and meeting the income limits is if he or she is incarcerated. There are cases where people can file for SSI while they are incarcerated. Understanding how to deal with such a complex case requires legal assistance.

For a person who is incarcerated, the release date is critical to filing for SSI. Once that date is known, someone at the facility should be informed that the person wants to start SSI. It is possible that there will be an agreement between the facility and the local Social Security office. If so, the SSA will be informed that the applicant will likely meet the criteria to be approved for SSI. The application will be sent months before the person's expected release. With that, the application can be processed and the benefits will begin when the person is released.

For those who are filing because they are disabled, the medical evidence will be accrued and provided to the SSA. This will be critical toward the determination of whether the applicant is eligible for SSI benefits. The SSA can also be informed by a social worker or a family member as to the applicant's pending release. A family member can be a representative payee if the person cannot handle his or her own finances. Some facilities do not have a prerelease agreement. If that is the case, the SSA should be contacted by the person or a representative to begin the process.

People who were convicted of a crime and subsequently incarcerated are not disqualified from getting SSI benefits if they meet the requirements. However, it is important to understand how to go about applying for SSI-related benefits and ensuring that there is as good a chance as possible that the applicant will have the benefits approved and begin receiving them when they are released. Having legal assistance from a law firm experienced in Supplemental Security Income is useful for those who are incarcerated as they apply for SSI.

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