What Public Benefits Do Felons Lose If Convicted?

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What Public Benefits Do Felons Lose If Convicted?

Being charged with a crime impacts the rest of your life. Those with a criminal record may find it difficult to find employment and housing. Depending on your crime—and whether it’s a felony conviction—they may lose some public benefits and civil liberties. This article explains further and offers tips on how to restore rights in Arizona. 

Six Benefits Felons Can Lose in Arizona

Convicted felons in Arizona and in Maricopa County could lose a number of benefits or see modifications to current benefits. It can affect access to food stamps, social security benefits, educational assistance, housing, and employment. Convicted felons may also lose certain civil rights. 

  1. Food Stamps

Can felons receive food stamps? Yes and no. In Arizona, some convicted drug felons can receive federally-funded food stamps (SNAP) by agreeing to random drug testing. They must also enroll in a substance abuse treatment program or have a doctor state they do not need to. 

Arizona bill HB 2060 was recently introduced to remove the drug testing and program enrollment conditions for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation. If passed, supporters say the measure will remove barriers keeping those who need the program from getting the assistance they need. 

  1. Social Security Benefits

Felons currently in prison can not claim social security benefits. If you were receiving benefits before going to jail, your benefits will resume 30 days after your release. 

  1. Educational Assistance

College or university grant recipients convicted of a felony will most likely lose their funding. Depending on the school and its policies, they may not offer another grant following the student’s release. Convicted felons may also have a harder time acquiring federal student aid

  1. Housing

Ex-felons may struggle to find housing. Criminal background checks are a part of most rental and lease agreements. As the apartment or house is private property, the property manager has the right to not accept your application.

  1. Employment

Criminal background information is standard on almost all employment applications, making it more difficult for convicted felons to find work after being released. The state of Arizona could also deny certain licenses and permits to ex-felons, such as licenses for pharmaceuticals, real estate, massage therapy, and certain medical practices.

  1. Civil Rights

Under Arizona ARS 13-904, convicted felons lose a number of civil rights, including the right to vote, to hold public office, to serve on a jury, and to own a gun

How do I get my rights restored in Arizona? 

As a criminal defense specialist, Todd Coolidge can assist people with restoring their public benefits and civil rights following a felony conviction. He is a firm believer that all Americans should receive the same rights, and he will do everything he can to ensure you get your rights restored so you can get your life back on track. For more information on how to restore your rights in Arizona, contact our Phoenix office today.

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