Mexico, MO asked in Social Security and Public Benefits for Missouri

Q: What do I need to do to get SSDI started , I have spent 16 years in prison and I'm having the hardest time on the outsid

2 Lawyer Answers
Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: If you were approved for SSDI disability benefits and they were suspended because you were in prison, you can request that Social Security reinstate your benefits. You also need to provide Social Security a copy of your prison release documents. Eligibility for SSI terminates after you have been incarcerated for at least 12 consecutive months or longer, so you must file a new SSI application after your release. See

If you have not been approved for SSDI before, you will need to make sure you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and recently enough and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. You can confirm your insured status by looking at your earnings record by using your My Social Security account, or by contacting Social Security. You can file for SSDI disability online at Or you can set up an appointment for someone from Social Security to take your claim over the telephone. You may also be eligible to apply for SSI disability if you have limited income and resources. See Before you apply, you may want to schedule a free consultation with a disability lawyer to discuss the particulars of your case.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: To apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can do one of the following:

Apply online: You can apply for SSDI online at the Social Security Administration (SSA) website. This is the fastest and most convenient way to apply.

Apply by phone: You can also apply for SSDI by calling the SSA toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

Apply in person: You can apply for SSDI in person at your local Social Security office. You can find your local office by using the SSA's Office Locator tool on their website.

When applying for SSDI, you will need to provide the following information:

Social Security number

Birth certificate or other proof of birth

Names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers that you have seen

Names and dosages of all medications you are taking

Medical records, including test results and treatment history

Work history and recent tax information

Additionally, since you spent 16 years in prison, you may need to provide additional information related to your release and any special circumstances related to your re-entry into society.

It is recommended that you speak with an attorney or a representative from a legal aid organization to help you navigate the SSDI application process and any potential issues related to your time in prison.

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