Getting Social Security Benefits When You Have Been Convicted of a Criminal Offense

Social Security benefits are normally available to any citizen of the United States who has paid into the system through deductions in their paychecks. But, what about people who have committed a crime? Are they still eligible, or have they forfeited their rights to these benefits? If you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime, keep reading to learn some more information about how that affects your Social Security payments.

Social Security Benefits in Criminal Case

Which Benefits Can You Receive?

Those who have been incarcerated may still be eligible for the following benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA):

  • Retirement
  • Survivors
  • Disability

Who Can Collect Benefits?

Even if you have been incarcerated because you committed a crime, you may still be eligible for benefits if you fit into one of the following categories:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • Blind
  • Disabled and have limited income or resources.

You are not eligible to receive benefits at any time during a period of incarceration. Further, you are not eligible if there is an active warrant out for your arrest for a felony that is punishable by imprisonment or death. You also may not be eligible for benefits if your verdict of “not guilty” was due to mental illness or it was determined that you were not competent enough to stand trial. If your incarceration lasts less than one month, you will not be eligible for benefits during that particular month.

Parole Violations
If you violate any parole or probation conditions after you have been released from prison, you will not be able to receive your Social Security benefits for the month in which the violation occurred.

Eligibility for Felons
In most cases, even if you were convicted of a felony, it will not affect your ability to collect Social Security benefits. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. You may not collect benefits if you fall into one of these categories:

  • Your disability was the result of, or was made worse, while committing a felony
  • Your disability occurred, or was made worse, while you were in prison on a felony conviction
  • You made yourself a widow or orphan by killing your spouse or parent (survivor’s benefits only).

Fleeing Felons
Convicts who have escaped from their confinement are not eligible for Social Security benefits. This condition includes people who have a warrant out for:

  • Fleeing to avoid prosecution or incarceration
  • Escape from custody
  • Flight-escape.

If you have any questions about collecting Social Security benefits with a criminal offense, contact the Clauson Law Firm today. We can help you.


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