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.