Can You Get Disability if You Have a Felony in Michigan?

Social Security Disability benefits are a financial lifesaver when you can’t work because of severe health problems.

The monthly checks and access to Medicare can make a major difference for you.

But can you get disability if you have a felony in Michigan?

Having a felony conviction on its own doesn’t mean you’re disqualified from Social Security Disability.

But certain situations related to felony records can prevent you from collecting disability, including whether your health impairments began in relation to your crime and whether you are currently incarcerated.

The Levine Benjamin Law Firm disability attorneys have helped thousands of people get benefits in Michigan and Ohio.

This is how we see a criminal record could disrupt your claim for benefits.

What Felony Circumstances Cause You to Lose Disability Benefits?

These situations can lead to your benefits being rejected, suspended or frozen until a later time:

  • The health impairment that would normally qualify you for benefits is related to the felony you committed, either started or aggravated as you committed the crime.
  • Your health condition came out of a time when you were in confinement for a felony.
  • You are currently in prison or jail for at least 30 days.
  • You fled from law enforcement to escape prosecution.
  • You fled from being held in custody.
  • You were being chased by police but escaped.
  • Having a conviction for certain types of federal crimes, such as treason, can also damage your claim for disability benefits in part by disqualifying some of your past income history from your disability application.
  • If you violated your parole or probation, you can get hit with periods of disability suspension.

Part of the reason why you can’t get benefits while in prison is that your food, housing and other basic needs are paid for through your incarceration, so the government reasons you don’t need the support for basic expenses that disability benefits are designed to provide.

An exception to losing your disability benefits while in jail is if you participate in certain programs to help you return to the workforce after you’re released. Then you can still get benefits.

Another situation when you can’t get benefits applies to survivors’ benefits for family members of Social Security recipients. You can’t receive these benefits if your conviction was for killing the spouse or parent whose death would otherwise qualify you to receive benefits based on their Social Security record.

Sometimes it can still make sense to put in an application for disability even if you’re disqualified for one of the reasons above. You may not immediately get the monetary benefits, but you could be declared to have a disability for a period of time, which could help preserve other Social Security benefits you may receive later.

And in many cases, when you’re released from prison, you can get your disability benefits reinstated.

On Top of Everything Else, You Also Must Have a Qualifying Disability

Qualifying for disability benefits can be challenging enough without also dealing with a criminal record.

Using medical evidence, work history and other supporting documents, you must prove:

  • You have a serious health impairment.
  • You can’t work in any capacity because of your impairment.
  • Your impairment and inability to work will last at least one year.

Navigating Social Security’s complicated disability benefits process is often much easier if you get an experienced Social Security Disability attorney working on your claim.

If you also have a felony record, your disability lawyer can help you determine your best options for getting benefits reinstated after release from incarceration, seeking a freeze that preserves eligibility for later benefits, whether you should start over and reapply for benefits after your sentence is complete, and other complicated decisions.

Levine Benjamin has been helping people in Michigan and Ohio with their benefits questions for over 59 years.

To talk about your specific situation, needs—and chances at greater financial stability through disability income—get in touch with us.

Skip to content