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The impact of criminal matters on SSD eligibility

The unfortunate reality is that many people find themselves on the wrong side of the law thanks to a momentary lapse in judgment or even circumstances beyond their control.

While we are all familiar with some of the immediate consequences of this criminal conduct -- incarceration, fines, a permanent record, etc. -- we may not be quite as familiar with some of the collateral consequences.

For example, were you aware that criminal conduct can affect eligibility for Social Security disability benefits?

Outstanding warrants

If you are the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant stemming from one of the following felony offenses -- flight-escape, escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or confinement -- you must inform the Social Security Administration.

That's because agency rules dictate that you are ineligible for disability benefits in any given month in which there was such an outstanding arrest warrant.

Convictions

If you have been convicted of any sort of crime, you must inform the SSA. That's because agency rules dictates that you are ineligible for disability benefits in any given month in which you are incarcerated.

Similarly, anyone who is committed to an institution by court order after being found not guilty by reason of insanity or similar factors, or incompetent to stand trial is also ineligible for disability benefits during the time of their confinement.

It's important to note, however, that family members of those convicted who are eligible for disability benefits based on that person's work history are still able to receive the assistance they need.

Probation/Parole violations

If you have violated a condition of your probation/parole, you must inform the Social Security Administration.

That's because agency rules dictate that you are ineligible for disability benefits in any given month in which there were probation/parole violations.

Those involved in these types of complex situations should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can explain the law and outline how it applies to their unique situation.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability benefits," Accessed Dec. 2, 2014

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