Do Felons Get Unemployment?

As a felon finding a job can be hard enough. Once you have found a job, a circumstance may arise that results in being fired. You may be in a panic wondering, do felons get unemployment?

Keep reading to learn more about unemployment and how to avoid needing it.

do felons get unemployment

Finding a Job

Finding a job is the initial first step in trying to get your life back on track. Further education or assistance may be needed as well. If you continue to be persistent, you will see that there are many opportunities out there. Giving up is not an option.

There are many companies out there that strive to provide jobs for those looking to better their situation. For instance, many companies are a part of the Ban the Box Movement.

Some industries are more likely to hire felons than others. The restaurant industry has been known to be very felon friendly. In the restaurant industry there is also a lot of room for growth. Meaning, you can work your way up in the company!

do felon get unemployment

Of course, once you find a job, you are expected to meet the requirements of your position. This includes, being on time for work, taking orders from supervisors, communicating with all team members, and getting along with fellow team members.

Unfortunately, sometimes felon or not, employees will find themselves in a situation that is not ideal. An employee could get fired for many reasons, all of which may not be the employee’s fault.

Receiving Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment provides benefits, usually in the form of weekly payments, to those who become unemployed due to certain circumstances and can meet other eligibility requirements.

This is through the state in which you live in. Every state has different requirements as well as restrictions. You can find more information about your state’s guidelines and welfare benefits at your local secretary of state.

There are a few guidelines that are true from state to state. For instance, simply being unemployed does not entitle you to receive unemployment.

do a felon get unemployment

To be eligible for unemployment you must be considered to be an employee and not contract labor. Those who receive a Form W-2 are deemed as employees.  Meaning, employees have taxes, social security, and unemployment benefit taxes withheld from their paycheck.

In order to receive unemployment, the firing cannot be due to misconduct, or willful behavior. An employee that has quit is also not eligible for unemployment.

An example of someone who may be eligible for unemployment is if they were let go due to the company having to cut back on employees.

There is no restriction against a felon receiving unemployment. As long as a felon is eligible and meets all of the requirements in their state, they will receive the benefits just as any other employee.

Avoid Getting Fired

do the felons get unemployment

Though it may be someone’s only option, it is best to avoid having to receive unemployment. Obviously, keeping a job should be a felon’s number one priority.

It is important for felons when they get a job, to act in ways that will help them keep that job and not give employers a reason to fire them.

Being a good employee is an important part of living a better lifestyle. As a felon you can show that you can be a great employee and that your past does not define you.

As a felon you may find it easy to follow strict schedules and follow directions from supervisors due to being incarcerated. As a felon, you may also feel motivated to prove to your employer that you have changed by going above and beyond. This can help to ensure you do not find yourself in the position of getting fired. Of course, sometimes the situation is not avoidable.

Actively searching for a job is a requirement when receiving unemployment. If you, as a felon, get fired it can be easy to feel discouraged and return to a life of crime. Getting unemployment benefits is a temporary fix for those who qualify.

Having Support

It is so important to have maximum support as a felon. This can be from family and friends, support groups, or from other employees at your place of work!

Of course, under the appropriate circumstances a felon can be eligible for and receive unemployment benefits. It is best to seek support to avoid this option. For instance, you can see if a family member or friend has a job for you as a temporary fix.


Unemployment provides benefits, usually in the form of weekly payments, to those who become unemployed due to certain circumstances and can meet other eligibility requirements.

There are no outright restrictions against felons receiving unemployment. It is meant to be a temporary fix. A felon should, at all cost, avoid being fired.

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