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Does a criminal record affect SSDI eligibility?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Social Security Disability

When seeking Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, it is important to understand the potential impact of a criminal record on your eligibility.

Although a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you, it can influence the outcome of your application.

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet certain criteria set by the Social Security Administration. The primary factors include having a disabling medical condition that prevents you from working, having a significant work history and being of a certain age. Your criminal record is generally not one of these criteria, but it can still influence your application.

Impact of certain criminal offenses

While the presence of a criminal record itself will not disqualify you, certain offenses can affect your eligibility. Convictions related to fraud, identity theft or other crimes against the government could lead to a denial or reduction of benefits. The SSA may view such offenses as an attempt to defraud the system.

Rehabilitation and eligibility

The SSA may consider whether you made efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. A documented commitment to rehabilitation, such as participation in treatment programs counseling, or vocational training, can improve your chances of disability benefits approval.

Evidence and documentation

When applying for benefits, provide comprehensive documentation. This includes medical records, work history and any relevant details about your criminal record. Be ready to explain your situation, the steps taken to address your past and how your disability affects your ability to work.

In 2021, 606,248 disabled beneficiaries received SSDI benefits, and every case is different. Even with a criminal record, you can still seek the support you need during difficult times.


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