TN 47 (06-22)

SI 00520.900 Prerelease Procedure - Institutionalization


Social Security Act, Section 1631(m)

A. Background

SSA’s prerelease procedure helps institutionalized individuals, who are ineligible for SSI and/or precluded from receiving Title II benefits or who are subject to the $30 Federal payment limit, begin receiving benefits shortly after they reenter the community upon release. The purpose is to promote deinstitutionalization, prevent homelessness, and reduce recidivism.

The prerelease procedure allows SSA to take and process benefit applications for an institutionalized individual before their anticipated release. We can make a prospective determination of potential eligibility and payment amount based on the individual’s anticipated circumstances upon release.

Congress enacted legislation requiring SSA to allow individuals to apply for benefits prior to their release from a public institution. In addition to helping those who have never received benefits, the prerelease procedure facilitates reinstatement of benefits after a period of suspense due to the institutionalization.

B. Criteria for applying the prerelease procedure

Process claims using the prerelease procedure in the following situations.

1. The individual is in a public institution and is:

  • ineligible for SSI benefits due to institutionalization; or

  • receiving the $30 SSI payment limit while in an institution where Medicaid pays for more than half the cost of the care (for more information, see SI 00520.011); or

  • precluded from receiving Title II benefits due to incarceration (for more information, see GN 02607.160).

NOTE: The prerelease procedure applies to penal institutions as well as other public institutions.

2. The individual is potentially eligible as follows:

  • the individual appears likely to meet the criteria for SSI eligibility or Title II entitlement when they are released from the institution; and

  • the anticipated release date is within the prerelease timeframes in SI 00520.920A.5.

NOTE: There may be situations when an institutionalized individual inquires about filing for benefits when the anticipated release date is far in the future, or when no release date has been determined. If the individual decides to file, take the application following GN 00201.005C. If the individual decides not to file, close out any Title II and SSI protective filings following the instructions in GN 00204.012 and SI 00601.037.

REMINDER: For SSI prerelease claims, if the individual is insured for Title II disability benefits, a Title II claim is required, per SI 00510.001.

C. Reference

SI 01801.040 - Living Arrangements that May Affect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Eligibility

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SI 00520.900 - Prerelease Procedure - Institutionalization - 06/10/2022
Batch run: 06/10/2022