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Denial of Social Security for Prisoners Upheld

The statutorily mandated denial of social security retirement benefits to a person convicted of a felony and serving life without parole does not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause because it is not "punishment." The court applies Hudson v. United States (1997), which in turn incorporates the definition of punishment in Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez.

The statute does not deny equal protection in distinguishing between felons and misdemeanants. There is a rational basis for the distinction: misdemeanants are incarcerated for short periods and suspending their benefits would do little for the system's solvency and would cause administrative difficulties. See: Casalvera v. Commissioner of Social Security, 998 F.Supp. 411 (D.Del. 1998).

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Related legal case

Casalvera v. Commissioner of Social Security