The prerelease procedure was designed to promote deinstitutionalization by assuring eligible individuals timely SSI payments when they reenter the community.
The distinguishing feature of the prerelease procedure is that it allows for the taking and processing of an SSI application for an institutionalized individual several months before his or her anticipated release. Furthermore, it allows for a prospective determination of potential eligibility and payment amount, based on anticipated circumstances. The procedure is intended to serve individuals who, because they are institutionalized, are currently ineligible for SSI, or are subject to the $30 Federal payment limit.
Congress has emphasized the need for the procedure by enacting legislation which requires that SSA provide a way for individuals to apply for benefits before release from a public institution. In addition to helping those who have never received SSI, the provision can also facilitate a reinstatement after suspension.
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 even when no release date has been determined. If the individual decides to file even after you have explained the situation, take the application following the application taking practices in GN 00201.005C. If the individual decides not to file, close out the Title II and SSI protective filings following the instructions in GN 00204.012 and SI 00601.037.