1. Home
  2. Services
  3. Can You Collect Social Security in Prison?

Can You Collect Social Security in Prison?

by Dr. Don Taylor, Ph.D., CFA, CFP, CASL

January 04, 2013  -  Bankrate.com

Dear Dr. Don,

My brother-in-law has just been convicted of a felony and will spend the next 19 months in a Michigan prison. Will the government withhold his Social Security income because of this? His wife needs that money. Thanks.
-- Rose Relation

Dear Rose,
Your brother-in-law's Social Security benefits will be suspended while he's in prison. That's required under a federal law called the No Social Security Benefits for Prisoners Act of 2009.

The law cuts off payments for people who have been convicted and confined in a correctional facility for more than 30 consecutive days.

If his spouse or children qualify for Social Security benefits, however, they'll continue to receive them while he is confined -- as long as they remain eligible.

Once he's out, he can start receiving benefits again. He will need to contact Social Security and provide a copy of his release documents before they can reinstate benefits. The Social Security Administration's publication "What Prisoners Need to Know" can provide additional information.

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use