Can a Felon Get Disability?

You committed a crime, served your time, and now, you’re injured. You don’t have a lot of options for work as a disabled felon.

You’ve heard about other handicapped people who get a check every month. You wonder, is this an option for you?

What is Social Security?

Social security offers benefits to people who have paid money by working. If you have a mental or physical illness that makes it impossible for you to work, this may be for you.

Getting a disability check means that you are incapable of working. If you get hurt or sick, you may be eligible to receive a monthly check to help you live.

The government will say that you have a disability that could earn a check if you are:

  • Unable to work for at least one year because of your illness
  • Expected to remain ill for at least one year, or your illness will result in death
  • Makes it beyond what is reasonably difficult for you to have a job.

These points state that your illness is very serious and has been going on for a long time. If you are seeking disability doctor’s visits and medical history will help you.

To apply for social security, you can go online or call the Social Security office. You will want to apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled.

How do you qualify?

To begin the qualification process, you will need to submit an application. There are certain criteria that you have to meet before you can get the check.

Paying into Social Security out of your paychecks is one part of the eligibility. This varies depending on your age and how long you’ve worked.

If you are 28 years old, you must’ve worked at least one and a half years. If you are 45 years old your work history must have been at least six and a half years.

When you apply, you’ll also need the right documentation. This includes:

  • Your Social Security Number and Birth Certificate
  • The names of any doctors, hospitals, or clinics who have helped you with your condition
  • Names and dosage amount of medicine
  • Your medical records
  • Test Results
  • A summary of the work you’ve done throughout your life
  • Your most recent paycheck stubs and W-2 tax forms

Each of these items represent criteria that you must meet to get a disability check. You must be a US citizen who has been to doctors.

If you’re worried you may not be able to get the documentation, the office will help you to get it.

Your condition will need a doctor’s diagnosis. This must be serious enough that you cannot do your work. Unless you are over 50 years old, the agency may ask if you can do another type of work.

Your medical condition must be severe enough that you have trouble moving around. You may also have issues with general mobility or even remembering things.

You will have to prove that this has been going on for at least one year. The SSA has a set list of medical conditions that mean you aren’t able to work at all.

If your condition is not on this list, you may have to try another type of work. An example of eligibility in this scenario is if you’ve always been a carpenter. Now you have arthritis in your hands, you can no longer do the only work you’re skilled to do.

The state will then ask if you have any other skills. You can no longer use your hands for carpentry, but do you have computer skills?

You will receive a letter in the mail with the final decision. If you don’t qualify, you do have the right to appeal the decision. You may want to find a lawyer who specializes in disability if you weren’t approved the first time.

Applying for Disability with a Felony

Assuming you meet the requirements we’ve already discussed you may be set. Let’s discuss the circumstances of your felony that can affect your approval.

There are no statutes saying that your felony will be a reason to deny your application. Some circumstances may make you ineligible for benefits.

One factor; did your disability happen because of the crime you committed? An example of this would be if you stole a car and ran from the police.

In the pursuit, you wrecked and got injured to the point you are unable to work. You wouldn’t qualify for disability because your injury was a result of your crime.

But what if you were on disability before you went to prison? Your crime doesn’t mean you’ll lose your disability.

While you’re incarcerated, or in custody of the state, you won’t get a check. This also means if you have warrants or you’re in trouble you won’t get your money.

Benefits of a Disability Check

Although the process may seem daunting, it gives disabled people a financial option. Even a felon needs money to live and provide for their family.

If you have any minor children, they may get a check as well. When applying, ask about help for your dependents.

Social Security Disability does not always pay as much as gainful employment. The amount you receive monthly depends on any other benefits or income you may have.

This assistance program offers incentives for people who are trying to go back to work. This means that you’re allowed to work, to some extent.

Let’s go back to the carpenter scenario. If you make less money on disability than you did as a carpenter, you may want to learn computer skills. You can do this by going to school or by getting an entry-level position.

The benefits will still be there as long as you don’t make too much, allowing time for you to find work suited to your needs.


If you have a felony conviction and you are unable to work because you’re sick, Disability may be for you. This will provide the financial assistance you need to live.

The application process is lengthy and there are several requirements to get a check. Once you receive your check you may realize it is not enough for you.

It is better, if you can to find a job in another field if you’re able to. There are programs and options for disabled felons to get you back on your feet.



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