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

April 27, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: August 19, 2021

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

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About the Author

Stacy Rodgers, Chief of Staff, Social Security Administration

Stacy Rodgers, Chief of Staff, Social Security Administration


  1. Laura R.

    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.

    • Johnny D.

      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.

      • Beverly

        Obama, really? He had nothing to do with this.

    • Linda


  2. Glenn B.

    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.

    • Glenn B.

      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.

  3. Randall K.

    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.

    • Chris

      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.

  4. LexMcGuire

    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.”

  5. Randall K.

    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.

    • LCY -.

      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.

      • John O.

        Right on, the SS card was never intended to be a form of ID.

  6. Valeire

    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!

    • Al

      What a whiner.

      • Maurice

        Lotta Nerve Al….

        • John O.

          He’s right, nothing that was said was relevant to the article.

    • Johnny D.

      Your not paying attention Randall. This really is another
      of those ‘Oh my, what should we do now, we have so much surplus money, we can create more and more programs and the hell with the people who have worked their butts off to create a little security for their loved ones and themselves. Damn people, wake up.

      • Beverly

        IF you have worked your butt off you will receive much more money then anyone on SSI which has a cap on income due to it being Welfare.

  7. Bob J.

    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

    • John O.

      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.

  8. Carol C.

    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!

    • John O.

      What needs changed is patience.

  9. JD S.

    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!

    • becky w.

      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.

      • John O.

        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.

    • Susan

      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!

      • krameria c.

        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

        • Maurice

          Maurice’s reply was to Becky and susan respectfully

      • Maurice

        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.

      • John O.

        Could not agree more.

      • Elizabeth B.

        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.

        • Beverly

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

  10. Nona P.

    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.

    • ROBERT L.

      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.

      • Maria C.

        Pursue this action with DOL and your local Attny General Office. Gof Bless

      • John O.

        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.

        • Elizabeth B.

          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.

        • Robert

          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.

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