Social Security — National Reentry Week (April 24th-30th)

A family hugging after a prisoner's releaseThe Department of Justice has designated April 24th-April 30th as National Reentry Week. As a participant agency in the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, Social Security continues to work with other federal agencies to increase transparency about government programs and services.    

Our dedicated reentry web page,, 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.  We are working with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to complete a national prerelease agreement that will cover all federal prisons.  In addition, we have active statewide prerelease agreements with 43 states.  We are working diligently to reach 50 states by the end of 2016.

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 MOU with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which covers all Federal prisons nationwide.  We also have over 39 statewide agreements and approximately 20 agreements with county and other local facilities. These arrangements help speed up the process of obtaining a replacement Social Security card.

For more on National Reentry Week, visit

For more on the Reentry Council, visit


65 thoughts on “Social Security — National Reentry Week (April 24th-30th)

  1. This is great news. I have always thought that the problems formerly incarcerated persons faced were insurmountable. This tells me that ther is hope. As a retired experienced human services worker I would love to work with these agencies to enable a positive transitory experience for persons in need of these services.

    • Tell me about it !!! I’ve been out 32 yrs and still being denied a good job, even though I’ve educated myself with 3 yrs of college and 3 trade schools! Last one told me they now have a policy about work place violence that won’t allow my employment. Even though my situation did NOT stem from anything like that.

      • So what you’re saying if I’m inhuman resources I have to hire a convicted felon or you’ll take legal action against me. And if I hire you and you rip me off and I fire you you’ll sue me. At least that is what other’s are telling you to do.

        • Let me guess….you are “religious”, right? Have you forgotten The Good Samaritan? So many examples in Jesus’s life to help us to help the formerly incarcerated…. these people have done their time; have had a lot of time to think, to prepare; they need us now.

        • No Mr. Omalia I have not lived in the lower income level all these yrs by suing people. I was merely making the point that there are infact some of us that account for our past actions and keep trying to move into the normal level of society after doing the time. I do understand ur concerns about people that continue their unlawful behaviors, it frustrates me also because I get painted with the same brush.

  2. Ever closer to Cradle to Grave! Can’t let convicted criminals be without benefits! Washington, Lincoln, and other presidents must be turning over in their graves!

    • They threaten to cut off SSI for those citizens who have never been incarcirated, and do not have to pay their dues for doing wrong, but heaven forbid we support them behind bars and now with SSI. Doesn’t seem fair.

      • SSI is welfare, so let’s give welfare to incarcerated felons so they can but more cigarettes. Nice, no wonder this country is going downhill fast with such “L” thinking.

    • Since when did Social Security become responsible to “resume family responsibilities, secure housing and cover basic living expenses” for released convicts? Is there anything this bloated, incompetent bureaucracy thinks it shouldn’t do for people who screwed up? Liberals absolutely do not believe in the concept of personal responsibility. Dear God, please help this Nation to come to their senses!

      • I was lock up 10years and haven’t been able to get any help from ssi and been out 5years and still can’t get any help due to mhmr and all my health problems

      • I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy things are! I have plumetted into poverty overnight due to a deteriotating health problem that has taken over my life and I have been trying to find dental help for 3 years ( I have 10 teeth left now) Medicare which I have deducted ($130.) every mo. out of the little money I get (worked since age 16) Can’t even find place to live because of bankruptcy which I had no choice of filing…etc…enough whining ,sorry.

      • A nation is only as great as it treats all its people; poverty does terrible things to people; more people are in poverty now; rich men have moved their factories overseas, and left people jobless; When people are desperate for work, things deteriorate fast. Anything we as a collective group can do to help those who need us, will improve the lives of us all, including those who had better childlhood experiences and sail through life unaided.

        • Also, in case you missed that part, SSI is for those who are disabled, not just everyone who walks out of a jail cell.

  3. The medicare card in for is so confusing. In err I checked “DO NOT NEED PART B”. Talked to SS, filled out form to reinstate B and returned it in provided envelope. It has been over 4 weeks and new card. Medicare started May 1. This should NOT be this confusing! Something needs to be changed!

  4. I believe this is a very important step which helps to ensure people whom have been incarcerated begin receiving their SS benefits as soon as they have served their time. I believe these steps will assist in deturing immediate criminal activity. The person will have immediate funds to try and resume a normal way of life. Otherwise, they may reconnect with old (poor choice) acquaintances in the effort to get some type income for survival. The exconvict’s life will already be a difficult one even while following all the post incarnated required guidelines.
    I don’t believe in over doing for them because “THEY MUST WANT TO CHANGE” AND BE WILLING JUMP THROUGH WHATEVER HOOPS ARE LAID OUT IN FRONT OF THEM. I believe many will do just that, as long as society does their part.
    Bob Jones

    • They don’t have to jump through hoops. If in prison less than a year their benefits can be reinstated in a week or two. If they have been incarcerated longer they might have to wait in line with the rest of the folks.

  5. And I bet they will get more then I do a month! And I worked for my money! Didn’t even take sick days or stay out to take care of my Mom when she was sick!! That’s real nice! I am retired now and my mom passed away and I couldn’t even be with her even in her last days!

  6. Part of the MOU for social security card should be an option for a card with a photo; seniors who quit driving can have the same problem as the incarcerated – when their driver’s license expires and they have failed to get a state issued ID, seniors still need a photo ID if they are a victims in identity theft, legal matters, pay with a check, changing utilities, and other daily life situations. Perhaps SS cards could morph into quasi Passports.

    • So, how often would a new photo be required and how would this be managed since a SS card is issued upon birth. I know I look nothing like my newborn photo and if a photo is changed every 10 years, who manages the taking of new photos. Get to DMV and get a state issued ID.

  7. When I have problems with social security no one ever helps. Now in Indonesia all banks have magically stopped cashing US government checks. Does anyone at the US embassy help or care – NO “it isn’t my job”
    Does anyone in social security help. In social security people consider their job to fill out forms. Changes take 1 month, 2 months or very long. No one cares that you or your children have food or can pay creditors. “That’s not my job.”

  8. How are the incarcerated keeping up with technology so they know how to complete a job application on line, use a smart phone, money for deposits on -phone, utilities, auto insurance, utilities, ID to open bank account, – processes have changed dramatically in the past 10 years.

    • I’m sure they can figure it out they can study to become a lawyer, a preacher or anything else. They will probably get their bridge card and Medicaid also.

  9. I have a necessary who has had a double bypass, has type 2 diabetes, and has sleep apnea. She has applied for SSDI, but has been denied. She appealing, but has been told it will take six months for her to appear before an ADJ.

    I’m not sure why when she has demonstrated she has the above mentioned medical problems she’s being denied SSDI and not able to enjoy the rest of her life.

    • I have a neice who has had a double bypass, has type 2 diabetes, and has sleep apnea. She has applied for SSDI, but has been denied. She appealing, but has been told it will take six months for her to appear before an ADJ.

      I’m not sure why when she has demonstrated she has the above mentioned medical problems she’s being denied SSDI and not able to enjoy the rest of her life.

  10. Wow, people are harsh! Ex-cons, many of whom are trying to start more responsible lives, face barriers every which way they turn. They have paid their debts to society and deserve another chance. Think about it: if you were re-entering society for some reason (God forbid it be because you made a really stupid decision one day and got caught for it) and had no access to employment, stable housing, further education, etc. – attempting to navigate a very complex system – you just may stumble and go back to doing whatever it takes to survive, too. We should treat every person with respect, because we all affect each other. Watch out for karma, people.

    • You must be living in a cave, These people have programs available to them. What do you need to be taught, Ok 7:00am
      get up. Go to work, come home, repeat the next day.
      I don’t agree with you Randall, These people will have to learn just like we did.
      First of all, 1 out 10 will really give a damn, the other 9 or so will go back to what they know…..NOTHING because they don’t want to work. 1 will 9 won’t.

  11. My question is, “How do you get someone to talk to you on the phone from the SS office. I waited and waited until I was told that someone would be with me and not to hang up after I finished talking to to the person. Well, no one ever came on the phone even though I waited and waited. I lost my husband and had been told that my SS would be raised to his (his was three times what I have been getting all these years. I am 91 and he was 92}. It has been going on three months since he passed and I am still getting the old amount. I will keep trying.

      • I have found, working with several locations of SSA in WV that you are more likely to get a real answer from the local SSA than the above listed national number.

    • We are sorry to hear about your loss Mrs. Sauer, and we apologize for the difficulty you’re having when trying to reach us by phone. Sometimes we experience higher than normal call volume.
      If you’re already getting Social Security benefits as a wife based on your husband’s work, we’ll change your payments to widow’s benefits, when we receive the report of his death. If we need more information, we’ll contact you.
      If you’re getting benefits based on your own work, then you must call us or contact your local office. We’ll check to see if you can get more money as a widow. If so, you’ll get a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.
      Generally, when calling our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later during the week. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Please try again.

  12. Gracias si me pueden enviar esta informacion en español o un numero de telefono donde me pueda comunicarme les agradesco

  13. When Is save the US social security recipients in Indonesia day going to be? Or are you just going to wait until they die with their social security checks (that will not be cashed by Indonesian banks)in their hands. Starve those old people and kids and the problem goes away! No the US embassy will not help- “It’s not my job” But don’tbe concerned US citizens don’t know anything about it. Indonesian staff does all the communications and no US people can be reached.

    • Dorothy Sauer:You better do it by April29/30 because they cut a lot of benefits as of then.
      Lex McGuire: I think it is an Indonesia problem and not a SS problem. You need to find out who in Indonesia will cash US gov’t checks. Maybe particular banks will who have a lot of holdings who don’t think it is a risk. The US dollar is not backed by any assets and they keep printing money every day and thus our dollar has no value. That is probably why they won’t cash your check. Way back before they were printing money out of thin air the dollar was backed by gold and had a value, now it doesn’t and therefore has no value which is why no one wants to cash your check.

      • Susan Respectfully the currency of the US is backed with a promise from the federal government. Have you needed a wheelbarrow of US dollars to buy a loaf of bread at the local grocery store? Then you will know our money has no value but as of now I’d say we’re doing pretty good!

  14. I am disabled and live in Michigan and have been homeless now for over two years now. Social Security is responsible for why I no longer have a home.A Social Security examiner hand picked a few records amongst the many original records that had been previously provided to Social Security; these records consisted of short term hospital stays of three days versus multiple stays of six week’s. She had already made the determination that I was no longer disabled and then neglected to contact me concerning not receiving medical records that consisted of 7 1\2 years from the primary physician. Social Security still had my current home phone number that I provided them with the required paperwork that consists of extremely traumatic questions. I had no idea that my physician’s office never sent the my record’s to them. The original examiner contacted me and helped me complete the traumatic questions over the phone. I lost my income and sought help from a non profit agency in my community; I had an excellent credit rating. I had two home equity loan’s One was fixed and one was variable and was around 1.8% with an approximate payment of $110 per month. If I had been irresponsible and borrowed more than I needed, I would have more than likely have been able to survive the loss of income. I took the person with the non profit agency the correspondence that I was receiving from Fifth Third, the financial institution with the $110/ month payment. He looked in my face and lied to me every week, sometimes twice that he was communicating with them. Thanks to one man from Social Security from Pennsylvania who actually cared enough to listen to me, and explained that there was a “special pile” for cases such as mine, and he assured me that he had heard everything I had said when I expressed my concern about losing my home and said he would make sure that mine would be placed in that pile with the many other cases before me. I received my income the day before my home and nine acres were to be sold at public auction. (It’s illegal to remove the notices that are plastered on every door of your home) And are a constant reminder. An attorney from Fifth Third contacted me afterwards and asked me why I had not contacted them and him. I told him that I had with the help of the person from the non profit agency, and was informed that that never occurred. My first concern, was this individual was a payee, entrusted with many disabled individual’s income’s and with paying the bills of those many disabled people in my community. I immediately contacted the head of the non profit agency, expressed my concerns for the other disabled individual’s financial welfare, and provided her the contact information from the attorney from Fifth Third who confirmed that it was completely unnecessary for me to have reached the state of foreclosure and that my interest rate had been 15% daily. I went without heat and hot water for two year’s, couldn’t pay my property taxes, and ALL because Congress, not the President, thought that there were just too many disabled people. It wouldn’t surprise me if this examiner received a bonus. Due to the housing crisis I couldn’t even sell my house for half of its value in 2008. I have been turned away for extra help for drug coverage even though I’m homeless. I have been refused health care even though I’m homeless I’ve been refused help from my local Community Mental Health services because I’m not a Medicaid recipient. I needed help. My home was sold to my real estate agents son for $24,000. Almost everything in my home that I worked my entire life for was stolen while it was for sale and my agent knew it. There’s more, however, I wanted to suggest something. Be aware of what time of day and time of month that you call. Ask for the person’s name and what state that they are located. And most importantly, most of us, if we use our intuition and instincts, know when the person on the phone just doesn’t care. It just doesn’t affect them and they are not going to help you no matter what. Use your instincts and hang up and try calling again, it’s much better than repeating yourself over and over and over and over and over again. What that leads to is where I’m at now. I’ve lost the will to live and don’t much care what people think about it. I have tried and I have nothing left. You can only endure so much, incur so many losses, be repeatedly traumatized, and then told in a multitude of ways that you don’t belong, before you no longer want to exist. At one time I may have been resilient, however, there isn’t anything more that you can take. At least you could provide assisted suicide. It’s called CAUSE and EFFECT.

  15. All people are created equal, who are we to judge, if you are able to do the job then hire them. There are some people I think should never leave prison but if their debt is paid, they should not be pounded on forever.

  16. I always thought that SS hears of a death, as it occurs, even before the family. That is what happened when my parents died. Doesn’T it work that way any more?

    • In most cases, the funeral home will report the person’s death to Social Security. If you want them to do that, you will need to give the deceased’s Social Security Number to the funeral director so he or she can make the report. You cannot report a death or apply for survivors’ benefits online. If you need to report a death, you must contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 ( TTY 1-800-325-0778). Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  17. I was wondering if you know of a program that helps people who have been released from prison to get them into subsidized housing?

    • Hello Kathleen, some individuals may be eligible to receive social services from the state that they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. Or you can visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information.
      We hope this information helps.

  18. Just a couple of questions please:
    Can I collect SS retirement benefits if I don’t have a legal permanent status in this country?
    What documents are required to start my retirement process?

    • Thank you for your question, Elizabeth. Social Security benefits are paid to noncitizens who are fully insured for retirement, survivors or disability benefits, and who continue to meet U.S. lawful presence requirements.
      See our Frequently Asked Questions web page for Noncitizens for more information. Or you can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 and speak to one of our agents for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will experience a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week.
      For complete information on what you need to apply for retirement benefits use our RETIREMENT PLANNER.
      We hope this information helps!

    • Hi Michael: For your security, we do not have access to your information in this venue. We encourage you to work with your local Social Security office. If you are unable to connect with your local office, you may call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available to help you Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

      Just a reminder – Please be cautious about posting personal information on social media.

    • Hello Alice. Generally, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are not payable for months that a beneficiary is incarcerated or confined to a jail, prison, or certain other public institutions due to a criminal conviction. However, we may be able to continue paying benefits to the dependent spouse or children as long as they remain eligible.
      Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or visit your local Social Security office directly. Thanks!

  19. Hi, I applied for a job in one of a public school in Kansas,i signed the papers stating I authorized them to do for my background check,thats the First step of their employment process Interviewing,Screening and background check.I give my whole information,my drivers license no.and my SS number.
    And on my Resume, I only wrote down one job experience since i have two job experiences.
    Is it possible that it will all pop up all my job experiences?
    And how it takes for the background checking?Can I background check myself?

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