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Screening process for Medicaid and SSI/SSDI eligibility

A process is established to screen people in the jail (and at any other points in the criminal justice system, as applicable) for Medicaid and Social Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability (SSDI) eligibility.

For more information on this intervention, see this resource:
Local Examples

Cook County, IL Cook County Jail

  • Screening for Medicaid and SSI/SSDI eligibility is integrated into the intake process.
  • The jail partners with a community-based organization that stations staff in the jail who screen people for Medicaid eligibility.
  • People that do not already have health insurance but do meet basic qualifying criteria are offered assistance in submitting Medicaid applications.
For more information on this example, see these resources:

Bernalillo County, NM Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC)

  • Everyone who is detained longer than three days is screened for prior Medicaid coverage by MDC social services staff.
  • MDC staff identify those covered by comparing the jail census to the state Medicaid database.
  • Those who are not covered but may be eligible are supported in applying while at MDC.
For more information on this example, see this resource:

Mobile County, AL

  • The mental health clinician embedded at the jail is trained in the SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery (SOAR) program and meets with all people who screen positive on the Brief Jail Mental Health Screen. The clinician cross-references people with entries in a system operated by a community-based treatment provider, AltaPointe. This enables the clinician to determine if a person has previously received services through AltaPointe and what diagnosis or diagnoses they have received.
  • The clinician coordinates treatment and medication with the jail and links people to appropriate post-release services.
  • The clinician can use multiple electronic health records to determine if a person previously had benefits that can be restored or if they have started the application process. With that information, the clinician can help people leaving jail resume, begin, or renew these benefits.

Policy & Practice


3 - Increase connection to treatment

Last updated: June 28, 2023