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Can a Felon Get Disability?

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Felons, as with many others, may sustain physical problems that result in ongoing medical conditions, preventing them from being able to function normally.

When those physical problems linger and become severe enough that they are unable to work, they may need to apply for disability due to these medical issues.

This blog post will cover whether felons can get disability.

  • Requirements to Qualify for Disability
  • Qualifying with a Felony
  • Importance of Disability Benefits
  • Supporting a Felon in Getting Disability


Requirements to Qualify for Disability

The disability determination is conducted by the Social Security Administration (SSA).  Application is made by contacting the local SSA office.

There are several criteria that are evaluated by the SSA in order to determine if an individual is disabled.

First, those considering applying for disability must have worked jobs covered by Social Security.

An important factor considered by the SSA is whether or not individuals are currently working or have worked since applying for disability.

They must not have been able to work for at least one year prior to applying for disability.

For those who are working, if they earned as much as $1130 per month during 2016, they are considered to be gainfully employed and ineligible for disability.  This is true even if they have a medical condition meeting the requirements for a disability.

Then, their medical condition must be severe enough to be considered disabled.

For each of the major body systems, there are criteria to meet for the condition to be termed severe.  For those systems not covered, they must be considered to be equivalent in severity to other major body systems.

Then, the medical condition must significantly interfere with the ability to work.

In order to determine this, the SSA will need to know what type of work felons did previously, including any skills learned on the job.  The determination must be made of whether felons can do what they previously did or be able to adapt to a different job.

Therefore, they look at their age, education, training, and work experience to see if they can do other types of work.

For those over 50, SSA rules state that applicants may not be expected to be able to adjust to other work, if they don’t have job education or training or experience, or skills from past work that could be easily applied to other jobs.

Many felons don’t have the education or training or a stable enough work history to make a determination easy.  But, they must comply with these regulations to be approved for disability benefits.

Qualifying with a Felony

Typically, felons can qualify for and may receive disability even if they have a felony conviction.  The important point is that they are physically unable to perform their current or previous job or another one.

There are also certain requirements that felons must also meet.

The rule is that felons are not eligible for disability if their disability resulted from or was made worse while committing a felony.

They are also ineligible if their disability began or was made worse while they were incarcerated.  If they killed their spouse or parent, they will not qualify.

For felons who may have been on disability prior to their incarceration, they may not receive disability benefits while they are incarcerated.  Their benefits will be suspended while they are locked up.

They may also not receive benefits if they have an outstanding warrant or are in violation of their probation.

Importance of Disability Benefits

While these stipulations may appear difficult to meet, felons who do have a medical condition that honestly prevents them from working should look into disability.

Disability coverage lasts only as long as felons continue to be classified disabled.  An important factor here is that those on disability must actively seek treatment for their medical condition.  If, at any point, their condition improves enough to no longer be considered severe, their disability benefits will be discontinued.

Finding a job is difficult enough for those felons who are physically able to work.

How long have they searched for a job and had no success?  It does take persistence to find that job, but there are employers who will hire them and success stories of felons who did.

Felons cannot give up in looking for a job, but if they do have a medical condition that prevents them from working, they should contact an attorney who can advise them on their rights and steer them in the right direction.

If felons are disabled and meet the criteria for a disability, those benefits can provide the financial assistance they need to make it through the time when their medical issues prevent them from working.

Why make it even more difficult than it already is?

Supporting a Felon in Getting Disability

Families of felons who are genuinely unable to work due to a medical condition should encourage them to apply for disability.

They need to be honest with their loved one and not allow them to use medical problems as justification for not working or looking for employment.

But for those who can’t work, support them in applying for disability benefits while they are unable to work.  Don’t let them give up and return to a life of crime.  Help them give themselves the best chance possible to be successful and lead an honest life.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know a felon unable to work due to medical problems?  What has that like and were they able to get disability?  Please tell us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Can a Felon Get Disability?”

  1. Suggesting a felon seek a lawyer? They are already broke and no reputable lawyer will lift a finger unless they have large amounts of money.

  2. When can a felon apply for disability? My brother will be released into a halfway house for two weeks and has to pay for meals etc while there. He was on disability when he was sent to prison and will need it when out. Can do the application while in the halfway house? Or does he have to wait till actually home?


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