Can I Collect Social Security Disability While on House Arrest?

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While inmates cannot receive Social Security disability benefit payments while they are incarcerated, those who are on house arrest can.

The Social Security Administration does not pay benefits to those incarcerated in a prison, jail or other correctional facility under the supervision of the Department of Corrections for more than 30 days. However, once you are released, you may collect any Social Security benefits to which you are entitled, even if you are under house arrest.

House Arrest Rules

Being under house arrest with a monitoring ankle bracelet will not disqualify you for Social Security benefits. If you were receiving SSI before you were incarcerated, you may start collecting benefits again the month of your release. If you were collecting other Social Security benefits, you may begin collecting them again at that time as well. Contact your local SSA office to get the process started. If you currently are incarcerated, you may contact the SSA office and begin the process while in custody, as soon as you have a release date.


  • The SSA does not pay SSDI or retirement benefits for any month in which you spent any time incarcerated. This means that if you are released on July 1, you are not eligible for July SSDI or retirement benefits -- though you may be eligible for SSI benefits.

Incarcerated for 12 Months of Longer

If you were receiving SSDI before you were incarcerated and have spent 12 months or more incarcerated, you will need to re-apply for your benefits. Contact your local SSA office and be prepared to provide any new medical documentation and to discuss any changes in your condition since the time you were initially approved for SSDI.

Applying for SSDI while on House Arrest

If you were not receiving SSDI prior to your incarceration, you still may apply while under house arrest. To qualify, you will need to prove that your disability makes it impossible for you to continue doing any type of work you're qualified for, or that you could reasonably be expected to train for. You will need documentation from medical professionals to back up your claims. If you do not have a doctor, the SSA will have one of its doctors examine you to determine whether your disability qualifies you for SSDI.


  • Lawyers who handle Social Security disability cases are paid from a percentage of an SSDI recipient's initial payment. Because of this, they often are willing to help clients who would otherwise be unable to pay for their services with their disability claims.

About the Author

Dell Markey is a full-time journalist. When he isn't writing business spotlights for local community papers, he writes and has owned and operated a small business.