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  • Christopher Le

Will a previous criminal conviction affect my ability to receive Social Security Disability?

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Can I still receive Social Security Disability if I have a previous criminal conviction?

You may have wondered whether having a criminal history or record will have an impact on their social security disability benefits. The general rule is that a prior felony conviction doesn’t affect an applicant’s ability to receive SSDI or SSI disability benefits. Your application also won’t be affected if you’ve been arrested.

However, certain crimes can affect your eligibility for benefits. These include:

  • Sabotage

  • Treason

  • Certain acts of terrorism

If you were convicted of either of the above, the court can order that the income you earned during the quarter you were convicted be excluded from determining your benefit amount. This would essentially lower your monthly benefit amount.

Other Crime-Related Activities That Could Impact Eligibility

While prior convictions normally dont have an impact on your application for disability benefits, if you’re about to be arrested or are currently in prison, your application may not be valid.

  • Applicants aren’t eligible to receive disability benefits when they have an outstanding warrant for a felony or crime, or if they’re evading arrest for committing a crime.

  • Applicants won’t be able to receive disability benefit payments if they’ve violated a condition of their parole or probation.

  • Applicants will not be paid benefits while they’re in prison for 30 days or more; benefits are reinstated in the month after release.

While a criminal history or record does not necessarily impact your application for disability benefits, you cannot apply for benefits if you sustain a disability while you’re committing a crime. If SSA determines that your disability occurred because of the crime you committed, you will likely be prohibited from applying for benefits for that particular disability.

What If I Became Disabled in Prison?

If your disability developed in prison, or your disability was aggravated or worsened while in prison, you can still apply for disability benefits. The SSA often suspends benefits when individuals are incarcerated, but you can ask for reinstatement after you've been released.

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