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Do Felons Get Unemployment?

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Do Felons Get Unemployment? Felons know the enormous difficulties they face in returning to society following their release from prison.

Certainly the biggest challenge they encounter is getting a job.  It may seem as though no one will hire them.

They may feel as though they will always be unemployed.  There are employers who will hire felons.  Check the list by state to find them.

This blog post will address the issue of whether felons can receive unemployment compensation.

  • Finding That Job
  • Criteria to Receive Unemployment
  • Pressure From Being Fired
  • Supporting Felons in Keeping a Job


Finding That Job

Finding that job will not be easy. Many felons seeking employment may get further education or additional training in order to get a job that will allow them to support their family.

Opportunities will open up if they are persistent just as the free Guide to Becoming Employed indicates.

Those who do find employment, however, will face their own set of unique challenges.

They will be expected to meet the requirements set down by their employer.

These of course include, being on time for work, meeting the task requirements of the position, taking orders from supervisors, communicating with those in charge, and getting along with those supervisors and fellow employees.

In living that honorable life once more, these are essential steps to master.

Some felons may find themselves in job situations in which the obstacles they face are enormous and where things do not work out.

Criteria to Receive Unemployment

Certainly employees are let go every day.  Not all of those fired are felons, naturally.

For felons fired from their jobs, they may want to find retribution in being let go.  They may feel as though they are owed unemployment compensation at least.

While this is understandable, seeking unemployment for being fired first must meet the criteria for filing for these benefits.

Just being without a job does not entitle someone to collect unemployment.

To be eligible for unemployment, first they must be considered to be an employee and not contract labor.

Those who receive a Form W-2 are termed employees.  As such they have taxes, social security, and unemployment benefit taxes withheld from their paycheck.

Some persons are in the position being a contract worker and getting a Form 1099.  If this is the case, they are not considered to be employees and do not qualify to receive unemployment compensation.

Next, the employee must meet length of employment criteria.  This is different in various states, but typically the minimum length of employment time must be one year to qualify.

Then, employees who are fired for misconduct, willful behavior, or other justifiable cause are not eligible for unemployment.

The important point for felons is that if they are dismissed from a job for acting in prohibited or illegal activity, violate company policies, or do something intentional resulting in being fired, they are not eligible to receive unemployment.

At this point, felons will find themselves back in the situation of having to look for a job again.

Of course, to be eligible and remain so, felons must maintain an ongoing, active job search while without a job.

Pressure From Being Fired

To be fired, even for justifiable cause, will put additional pressure on felons.  They already have a felony record going against them.  Now they add to that being fired for misconduct or illegal activity.

This can set them up to become so discouraged they give up and return to their previous life of crime.

An important consideration for felons when they get that job is to make certain they act in ways that will help them keep that job and not give employers any reason to fire them.

Receiving unemployment benefits is only temporary for those who qualify.  It is not worth the risk for felons to put themselves in that situation.

A previous blog post indicated that felons make good employees.

They are accustomed to strict schedules and following directions from supervisors.  They are typically motivated to stop wasting time in their lives and return to be productive.

Being a good employee is an important part of living an honorable life.

So, felons need to bear these considerations in mind in that job.  They shouldn’t give employers a reason to fire them.  Certainly they must not adopt the attitude that employers are just looking for a reason to let them go.

After all, those employers have made the decision to give them another chance.

So, felons, need to keep a good attitude and let them see it was a good decision to hire them.

Supporting Felons in Keeping a Job

For families of felons, encourage them to act in ways consistent with their new honest life.  Don’t let then begin again along the path they previously walked.

Of course, they can be fired and under the appropriate circumstances can be eligible for, and receive unemployment benefits.  Hopefully, they won’t have to apply.  But those benefits are there if they need them.

If they do lose their job, encourage them to do the right thing by filing for unemployment if they qualify and continuing to look for work again.

If they were dismissed unfairly, they can seek legal counsel to help them in fighting their case.  Help them succeed, so they don’t become another statistic by going back to prison.

What do you think about this blog post?  Are you or someone you know been in the situation of losing a job and getting unemployment with a felony?  What was that like for them, and how did they deal with it?  Please tell us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Do Felons Get Unemployment?”

  1. My son left his job when he went to prison in 2019. He is coming home next month. Can he file for unemployment?

  2. can a felon that was working still incarcerated but lost his job due to the covid-19 file for unemployment?


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