Department of the Treasury

Saviing Millions Plus in SSI payments to Prisoners

When a person who receives SSI (Title 16) is incarcerated in a County Jail, State Prison, or Federal Prison for more than 30 calendar days, SSA Regulations state their SSI checks CEASE. There is a prison reporting tool where detention facilities are to report to SSA the SSNs of people who are incarcerated, but it is NOT widely used by facilities. Many prison staff members have told me that they do not even ask if the prisoner is on SSI at intake booking. Prisoners nationwide are receiving their SSI checks for MONTHS and YEARS while being incarcerated. Prison staff have told me that the prisoner's family members will bring the checks up for a visit and have the prisoner sign them, then cash the checks, and put in the prisoner accounts. I have had some prison staff tell me that the prison accounts have been over 1.5K from SSI checks. The Law is the Law. Few people actually tell SSA when their family members have become incarcerated. The checks NEVER stop, and they NEVER stop cashing them. Why should the U.S. Gov't pay a prisoner who is a convicted felon serving time? There should be a better bridge between County/State/Federal detention facilities and the SSA for reporting prisoners who receive SSI when they are initially booked in for crimes.

This is not a small oversight - it is huge and widespread. Millions plus could be saved if it was mandatory that institutions provide the SSNs of prisoners to SSA.

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Idea No. 18876