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. Elizabeth N.

    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?

    • Ray F.

      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!

  2. Kathleen S.

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

    • Ray F.

      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.

  3. Ruthann H.

    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?

    • Ray F.

      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.

  4. Dorothy

    The information I have read on this blog
    has been very helpful and interesting.
    Thank you and peace to all.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you! We’re pleased we can help.

  5. Vicki F.

    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.

  6. Erin

    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.

  7. LexMcGuire

    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.

    • Susan

      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.

      • Cyndee S.

        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!

  8. John O.

    Llame al 1-800-7721213 y presione el botón para el español.

  9. Reinaldo F.

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

  10. Dorothy M.

    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.

    • John O.

      Call 1-800-7721213.

      • Beverly

        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.

    • Ray F.

      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.

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