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Incentive Payment Program brings revenue to counties, stops federal benefits to inmates Legal Corner

gram that provides monthly payments to people who are 65 or older, or who are blind or have a disability and who have little or no income and resources. Te Social Security Administration (SSA) manages both programs. In most cases, Social Security or SSI benefits cannot be paid to people who are in prisons or county jails. Sheriffs and administra- tors of county jails can help SSA by reporting information about confined or incarcerated people.


Authority for Incentive Payments Federal law permits incentive pay- ments to local correctional institutions. Te incentive payments are for providing information that: • Results in the suspension of SSI pay- ments to people whose confinement be- gan in March 1997 or later; or • Results in the suspension of So-

cial Security retirement, survivors or disability insurance benefits to people whose confinement began in April 2000 or later.

he Social Security program provides disability, retire- ment and survivors benefits to qualified individuals and their families based on the worker’s earnings. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal pro-

payment for information received after 90 days of confinement.

Administration will: 1. Verify that required inmate data

How Payment Process Works When reports are received, the

has been furnished by each partici- pating correctional institution; 2. Confirm that Social Security

Number data matches information in the administration’s files; 3. Review payment records to find out if any inmates are receiving Social Security or SSI benefit payments. 4. Noti-

Participation in Incentive Program Local correctional institutions that want to participate in the incentive pay- ment program, with the concurrence of the county judge, must sign an agree- ment with the Commissioner of Social Security. Under the agreement, the institutions must provide the follow- ing information every month about all newly admitted inmates: • Social Security Number; • Name; • Date of birth; • Date that confinement or incarceration began; and • Other identifying information about the inmate. In addition to monthly reports of new admissions, correctional institutions must provide initial reports containing this informa- tion for their total inmate population. Participating institutions must forward the information to Social Security electronically.

Amount of Incentive Payments For every Social Security or SSI recipient that is suspended as

a result of information provided by the participating institution, the Social Security Administration will pay the institution: • $400 for information received within 30 days of the confine- ment; or • $200 for information received after 30 days but within 90 days after confinement. Te Social Security Administration will not pay an incentive


ty Income recipient that is suspend- ed as a result of information provid- ed by the participating institution, the Social Security Administration will pay the institution.

“F ”

or every Social Security or Supplemental Securi-

JONATHAN GREER General Counsel

fy the inmate that Social Security or SSI payments must be suspended; 5. Determine the incentive payments

to each participating facility or institu- tion; 6. Transmit monthly incentive pay- ments via electronic funds transfer to the financial account specified by each par- ticipating institution or facility; and 7. Send a monthly notice to each par- ticipating institution informing it of: • The total number of Social Secu-

rity or SSI recipients whose benefits were suspended as a result of infor- mation provided; • The total monthly incentive pay- ment; and • The date the electronic funds transfer was transmitted to its financial account.

pating in the program since the summer. According to Greene County Treasurer Debbie Cross, “Te Incentive Payment Pro- gram is a win-win for the citizens of Greene County. Not only does it bring much needed revenue to the county, it also stops payments to inmates who are no longer entitled to receive those federal benefits.” If you have any questions about this incentive program, you should contact any Social Security office for the name and ad- dress of the regional prisoner coordinator. Te coordinator will assist you in enrolling in the program or answering any questions you may have. For more information, visit the Social Security Administra-

Greene County has been partici-

tion website at or call toll-free 1-800- 772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing call the TTY number, 1-800-325-0778). Social Security can answer specific questions and provide information by automated phone service 24 hours a day. All calls are treated confidentially.

Information for this article was taken from SSA Publication No. 05-10088 found at (October, 2014).


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