National Alliance on Mental Illness
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NAMI Comments on SSDI Eligibility for "Fleeing Felons"

The Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) bars the payments of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments to fleeing felons and probation/Parole violators -- the ban for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits has existed since 1996.  The SSPA also included a "good cause" exception to the benefit suspension in certain limited situations.  In December 2005, Social Security issued proposed regulations to implement this new provision.

Since 1997, NAMI has been especially concerned that Social Security's implementation of the SSI provision has been overly broad and likely more inclusive in their reach than originally intended.   A disproportionate number of SSI beneficiaries with severe mental illness have been swept up in this restriction.  In many cases, these beneficiaries may not be aware of violations and may not understand the terms of their parole or probation or legal status.  A significant percentage of these cases involve relatively minor crimes that were committed years ago and which prosecutors have no intention of pursuing. 

View NAMI's comments to Social Security on the proposed regulations. (pdf, opens in a new window)