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Benefits After Incarceration: What You Need To Know in 2024

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Guest Article Written By Kirk Larson – Social Security Public Affairs representative in the Washington State

Our dedicated reentry web page, or Benefits after Incarceration (ssa.gov), includes SSA-related information about accessing Social Security benefits and resources and links to other federal agencies.  Family members
and advocates can readily access information for their relatives or clients about filing
for or reinstating benefits, obtaining replacement Social Security cards, veterans’
services, and healthcare.

Improving Service to Citizens Returning to the Community after Incarceration
We are making tremendous strides toward ensuring continuity of re-entry services for
citizens preparing to return to the community.  We continue to work with federal,
state, and local corrections officials to establish prerelease agreements for Social
Security benefits.    

Some individuals become disabled while in custody and may be eligible to receive
disability benefits upon release.  Through the pre-release agreements with state and
local correctional facilities, individuals can apply for benefits or begin the process of
reinstating benefits prior to or shortly after their release.  These benefits and
resources are the key to their ability to resume family responsibilities, secure housing,
and cover basic living expenses.

Ensuring Returning Citizens are Reconnected to Services Upon Release
Frequently when individuals who have paid their debt to society leave custody, they
do not have current identification.  Without these documents, they find it very difficult,
if not impossible, to secure employment, housing, healthcare, or government
assistance.  Often to obtain identification, individuals are required to provide proof of
their Social Security number (SSN).  We have a prisoner SSN replacement card
agreements with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which covers all Federal prisons
nationwide.  We also have over 39 statewide agreements, in addition to agreements
with several county and local facilities. These arrangements help speed up the
process of obtaining a replacement Social Security card.

Additional Information
If you want to know about Social Security benefits, please visit our website. From there you can learn about filing for disability programs
and access two informative publics –
What Prisoners Need To Know
Entering The Community After Incarceration—How We Can Help
We look forward to serving you.

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