TN 34 (10-15)

GN 02607.310 Title II Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) Provisions

A. What is NGRI

“Not guilty by reason of insanity” is a plea by a criminal defendant who admits the criminal act, but claims that he or she was mentally disturbed at the time of the crime and lacked the mental capacity to have intended to commit a crime. Such a plea requires that a court conduct a trial on the issue of insanity alone. Before conducting such a trial, the court may confine a beneficiary for a psychological examination. After completion of a psychological evaluation, the court makes a decision about the beneficiary’s sanity. An insanity judgment results in a verdict of "not guilty." If the beneficiary’s insanity condition continues, it may result in commitment to a mental facility for the criminally insane or to a mental hospital. If the beneficiary’s insanity condition is temporary, the judge has the option to require the beneficiary to undergo psychological therapy.

A court declares a defendant NGRI when it:

  • finds a defendant guilty but insane with respect to a criminal offense;

  • finds a defendant not guilty of a criminal offense by reason of insanity; or

  • issues a similar verdict or finding with respect to a criminal offense based on similar factors (such as mental disease, mental defect, or mental incompetence).

Being NGRI is not the same as being insane at the time of trial and consequently incompetent to stand trial (IST). A court postpones an IST defendant’s trial and normally confines the defendant to a mental facility pending his or her recovery. For more information on IST beneficiaries, see GN 02607.330.

B. NGRI suspension policies beginning 4/1/2000

1. Suspension requirements

a. Beneficiaries affected

All Title II beneficiaries are affected.

b. Rules for suspension

Suspend a beneficiary’s benefits when:

  • a court issues a verdict of NGRI;

  • an institution takes custody of the beneficiary because of the NGRI verdict; and

  • the beneficiary remains confined in the institution for more than 30 continuous days based on the NGRI verdict.

2. Confinement date

For a definition of confinement, see GN 02607.001.

a. Confinement begins

Confinement begins on the later of the date when:

  • a court issues an order to confine a beneficiary in a United States mental institution for more than 30 continuous days after a verdict of NGRI; or

  • a mental institution admits the beneficiary into custody for more than 30 continuous days after an NGRI verdict.

b. Confinement ends

Confinement ends with:

  • conditional release (official release from the institution, which no longer provides for the beneficiary's basic living needs, but the beneficiary continues to receive supervision or treatment); or

  • unconditional release from an institution.

NOTE: Some jurisdictions have special procedures for re-confining NGRI beneficiaries on conditional release, which differ from usual civil commitment procedures. If a court orders a beneficiary re-confined under these special procedures, consider the NGRI beneficiary confined in connection with the NGRI verdict. Suspend benefits if the beneficiary meets all suspension requirements. If there is a question about whether the re-confinement was under special insanity acquittal procedures, refer the case to your regional prisoner coordinator (RPC) to obtain an opinion from the Office of General Council (OGC) Regional Office. For a list of RPCs, see GN 02607.990.

3. Suspension effective date

Suspension is effective with the month (including any part of the month) a beneficiary begins confinement after a court declares the beneficiary NGRI and orders confinement.

Do not input the suspension until the 31st day of continuous confinement. To determine the 31st day of continuous confinement, count 30 consecutive days from the confinement date.

4. When NGRI suspension does not apply

Do not suspend benefits for the time that the court confines a beneficiary for a psychological examination to determine competency to stand trial. Suspension applies only after the court makes a decision about the beneficiary’s competency and issues a court order to confine the beneficiary.

C. NGRI suspension policies prior to 4/1/2000

1. Confinement 02/01/1995 through 12/16/1999

a. Benefits affected

All Title II beneficiaries are affected.

b. Rules for suspension

Suspend Title II benefits effective with the month a court issues a verdict, finding, or ruling that declares the beneficiary:

  • guilty but insane with respect to an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

  • not guilty of such an offense by reason of insanity;

  • incompetent to stand trial under an allegation of such an offense;

  • to have a similar verdict or finding with respect to such an offense based on similar factors (such as mental disease, mental defect, or mental incompetence); and

  • the institution confines the beneficiary at the public’s expense.

2. Confinement 12/17/1999 through 03/31/2000

a. Benefits affected

All Title II beneficiaries are affected.

b. Rules for suspension

Suspend Title II benefits effective with the month a court declares the beneficiary:

  • guilty but insane with respect to an offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

  • not guilty of such an offense by reason of insanity;

  • incompetent to stand trial under an allegation of such an offense;

  • to have a similar verdict or finding with respect to such an offense based on similar factors (such as mental disease, mental defect, or mental incompetence); and

  • the institution confines the beneficiary at the public’s expense, or

  • immediately after a beneficiary serves his or her criminal sentence in a correctional institution (for committing a crime involving inappropriate sexual activity), an institution confines the beneficiary at the public’s expense because the court found that the beneficiary was medically and legally a sexually dangerous person (SDP), a sexual predator, or had a similar finding.

For more information on SDPs, see GN 02607.350.

D. References

  • GN 02607.700 Suspending Title II Benefits To Prisoners, NGRIs, Incompetent to Stand Trial or Sexually Dangerous Persons By Using PUPS

  • GN 02607.850 Title II Reinstatement Policies for NGRIs


To Link to this section - Use this URL:
http://policy.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0202607310
GN 02607.310 - Title II Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI) Provisions - 10/06/2015
Batch run: 10/06/2015
Rev:10/06/2015