The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is funded by general tax revenues and is intended to be a federal income supplement that helps aged, blind and disabled citizens, who have little or no income, meet basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.  However, one classification of people that SSI is not designed to support is incarcerated individuals.  According to KMOV.com in St. Louis, a Belleville, Illinois man has been ordered back to prison for collecting SSI benefits while serving time for another crime.

The 39-year-old admitted that he continued to receive government benefits that he was not entitled to for approximately two and a half years while serving out a different prison sentence for an unspecified state conviction. (This prisoner committed the crime, but taxpayers paid for it– twice.  Once, for the criminal’s basic needs while in jail the first time and again through SSI benefits.  Talk about a double whammy!) The second time around, he was ordered to serve 18 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  The man also will be required to pay $20,220 in restitution to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA actually has a publication entitled, “What Prisoners Need to Know.” (I’m guessing that every convict gets the booklet in their welcome package when they walk through the gates of the prison.) The very first line of the pamphlet states that SSI is not payable for the time that a person is confined to a jail, prison or other public institution due to the commission of a crime. (How plain can it be?) It looks like this guy got his double whammy and will serve a second term for fleecing the SSA of benefits he did not deserve.

  1. It seems a “federal data match” should exist: too match the SSN of all government benefit recipients, against the SSN for all current prisoners nationally.

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