TN 17 (05-13)
GN 02607.840 Retirement, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (Title II) Reinstatement Policies for Prisoners
A. Rules for reinstating benefits to prisoners
Reinstate benefits if:
a correctional institution "officially releases" a beneficiary because he or she completes serving his or her sentence, or the institution places the beneficiary on parole or pardon (a beneficiary is "released to the streets"); or
a beneficiary is serving a prison sentence, but is living outside the correctional institution at no cost (other than the expense of monitoring) to the correctional institution or custodial agency. The correctional institution or agency electronically maintains supervision and control over the beneficiary. The beneficiary is simply serving his or her prison sentence outside a correctional institution (e.g., home confinement).
NOTE: If the correctional institution or agency places the beneficiary on home confinement (e.g., house arrest, home or electronic monitoring, or tethering), reinstate the beneficiary’s benefits. Home confinement is an electronic monitoring program that a correctional institution may use as an alternative to criminal imprisonment. While on home confinement, a beneficiary must pay for all of his or her food, clothing, shelter, and medical care expenses. A correctional institution uses this type of sentence as a cost-saving punishment for criminals who do not pose a threat to others. For additional information on home confinements, see GN 02607.200C.
1. Effective date for reinstating benefits
Reinstate benefits beginning with the month after the correctional institution officially releases the beneficiary back to society (e.g., “released to the streets") or home confinement.
2. Official release on the last day of the month
Sometimes, an inmate's “official” release occurs on the last day of the month. Once a correctional institution officially releases an inmate, the correctional institution must return the inmate “back to society." Normally, this process requires the correctional institution to arrange for the inmate’s transportation to the nearest town or city. When there are unexpected delays in the correctional institution’s release process and limited nightly bus service, an institution may hold a released inmate overnight at the institution with the intent to transport the released inmate to the nearest city or town the next day. Use the release date on the inmate’s official release papers as the beneficiary’s actual release date even when the correctional institution had custody of the inmate for an extra day.
ABC prison officially released Barney, a title II beneficiary, on 03/31/11 at 10:00 P.M. (ABC Prison’s official release document shows 03/31/11 as the release date.) ABC Prison does not provide inmate transportation to town after 9:00 P.M. The next inmate bus scheduled into town was 7:00 A.M. on 04/01/11. Barney had to stay the night in ABC Prison until he could catch the next morning’s bus. We will use 03/31/11 as Barney's ABC Prison official release date. We will start Barney's benefits again beginning 04/11 as long as he meets the other continuing title II entitlement and eligibility factors.
NOTE: For processing cases where a court overturns a beneficiary's conviction, see GN 02607.200A.3.
B. Field Office (FO) processing of the prisoner reinstatement action
1. Beneficiary submits proof of official release
a. Review the inmate's official release documents
The official release papers must contain:
the inmate's name, social security number, correctional institution inmate number, date of birth, address, father’s surname or mother's maiden name, or other descriptive information to establish that the beneficiary presenting the release paper is the same as the incarcerated individual;
the releasing correctional institution’s name; i.e., the release document with the institution's name and address on the letterhead;
the release date;
NOTE: For information on a beneficiary’s release on a month’s last day, see GN 02607.840A.3. in this section.
If available, also obtain documentation of the inmate's conditions of parole. The inmate and a correctional official usually sign this document.
Fax a copy of the beneficiary’s official release papers into the Non-Disability Repository for Evidentiary Documents (NDRED) to document the release. Use document type: “Other.”
NOTE: The released inmate must provide his or her release documents to request benefit reinstatement. If the beneficiary needs assistance in obtaining the documents, see the instructions in GN 02607.840B.3. in this section.
2. Discrepancy in the release paper documentation
If the release document appears vague, fraudulent, or not reliable, contact the institution or releasing official to authenticate its contents.
Also, contact the correctional institution shown on the official release document’s letterhead if you encounter an identity discrepancy, then process as follows.
Verify with the correctional institution that the official release document is genuine. Determine if the inmate and the beneficiary are the same person.
Confirm the beneficiary’s information relating to his or her official release (e.g., release date).
3. Beneficiary cannot provide proof of official release
If the beneficiary requests benefits reinstatement but does not have his or her official release papers, ask the beneficiary for his or her last incarceration date and the correctional institution’s name. Compare his or her answers with the Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) record to determine if the inmate report matches the PUPS record and process as follows.
If the report matches the PUPS record and the beneficiary is capable, tell the beneficiary to contact the correctional institution to obtain his or her release papers. After we obtain the document, proceed using the instructions in GN 02607.840B.1. in this section.
If the report matches the PUPS record but the beneficiary needs assistance in obtaining his or her release documents, contact the correctional institution. Ask them to supply proof of the inmate’s release, i.e., the release information described in GN 02607.840B.1.a. in this section. Ask the institution to supply the release information on its letterhead. The release document must contain a correctional official’s signature from the inmate’s releasing institution. Ask the institution to fax the letter to your field office (FO) or mail it to the FO address. Fax a copy of the proof of release into NDRED using document type: “Other.”
NOTE: If the correctional institution will not provide a release document for the inmate, obtain the information in GN 02607.840B.1.a. in this section over the phone or by using the correctional institution’s inmate website. Complete an SSA-5002, Report of Contact, to document the release information. Sign the document and fax a copy into NDRED using document type: “Other.”
C. Review the factors of eligibility before beginning payments
Review the record and determine if the beneficiary still meets all factors of entitlement and eligibility before paying benefits; e.g., work deductions or child in care deductions, etc.
For factors that may affect title II benefit eligibility, see GN 02602.005. For instructions on processing title II benefit resumption after a suspension, see GN 02602.040.
If reinstatement is appropriate, process the reinstatement through the Postentitlement Operating System (POS) and the Prisoner Update Processing System (PUPS) using the instructions in GN 02607.860.
NOTE: Also, determine if the title II reinstatement request is a lead for potential title XVI benefits or a protective filing. Close-out the title XVI protective filing, by either obtaining an SSI application or sending an SSA-L991. For information on title XVI protective writings and filing policy, see SI 000601.015 through SI 00601.025."
D. Reinstating benefits for inmates placed on home confinement
1. Rules for reinstating benefits to home-confined inmates
To reinstate benefits for beneficiaries who are on "home confinement" programs, or a similar program, follow the steps in the following chart.
Verify and review the inmate's home confinement documents using the criteria in GN 02607.840B.1.a. in this section.
Develop the beneficiary’s living arrangements while he or she is on home confinement. Obtain information about the home confinement as follows.
Determine if the beneficiary has complete responsibility for his or her own living expenses (food, clothing, shelter, medical care, etc.) while on home confinement. The beneficiary cannot receive any contributions or support toward these expenses from the institution, penal system, or other correctional custodial agency. The correctional institution only pays for the cost of electronic monitoring. A private third party, such as a spouse or parent, can pay for living expense. And,
If the inmate’s home confinement documents are incomplete or questionable, verify the beneficiary’s allegations regarding contributions or support with the correctional institution or custodial agency responsible for monitoring the beneficiary’s home confinement program.
Review the beneficiary’s continuing eligibility factors for title II benefits. You must consider these factors before deciding if the beneficiary may receive title II benefits again after his or her prisoner suspension. For factors that may affect title II benefit eligibility, see GN 02602.005. For instructions on processing title II benefit resumption after a suspension, see GN 02602.040.
Reinstate the beneficiary’s monthly benefits beginning with the month after the month the beneficiary’s home confinement officially starts. The home confinement release date equals the official date the correctional institution started the beneficiary’s home confinement.
2. Use POS/PUPS to reinstate benefits
Process the reinstatement through POS/PUPS following the instructions in GN 02607.860.
E. Processing Center (PC) reinstatement of benefits after prisoner suspension
If the PC receives a beneficiary’s reinstatement request, the PC will take the following actions.
Evaluate the beneficiary’s official release or home confinement document(s) for discrepancies as indicated in GN 02607.840B.1. and GN 02607.840D.1. in this section. If the document is acceptable, scan the release document into the paperless processing center (PPC). Review the beneficiary’s continuing eligibility to title II benefits. If you resolve all reinstatement issues, reinstate the beneficiary’s monthly benefits using POS beginning with the month after the official release month. For instructions on reinstating monthly benefits, see GN 02607.860.
If the beneficiary does not provide sufficient information for you to take action, transfer the reinstatement request to the servicing FO for processing, using the instructions in GN 02607.840B.2. and GN 02607.840D.1. in this section. Fax a copy of any documentation received from the beneficiary into NDRED for viewing by the FO. Use document type: “Other.” The FO will complete processing of the beneficiary’s reinstatement request so you do not need to control the request.