"Fleeing Felon" Laws and Eligibility for Public Benefits
"Fleeing Felon" is a specific legal term used to identify individuals "fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction, under the laws of the place from which the person flees, for a crime, or an attempt to commit a crime, which is a felony under the laws of the place from which the person flees, or, in jurisdictions that do not define crimes as felonies, is punishable by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year regardless of the actual sentence imposed." 42 U.S.C. § 1382 (e)(4).
The following is an excerpt from "Collateral Consequences of Criminal Proceedings" on eligibility for benefits. For more resources, visitFleeing Felons Reentry Net Folder
Fleeing Felons or Parole Violators Ineligible for Most Benefits
a. Ineligibility: (42 U.S.C. § 608(a)(9)(A)) States may not provide TANF-funded benefits, SSI, SSDI, public and federally-assisted housing, or Food Stamps to individuals who are:
i) Fleeing felons,or
ii) Violating a condition of probation or parole, as found by a judicial or administrative determination.
iii) For public assistance and Food Stamps, these categories are defined by state law under Soc. Serv. L. § 131(14); 18 NYCRR § 351.2 (public assistance); 18 NYCRR § 387.1 (Food Stamps); and 97 ADM-23.
b. These persons remain eligible for Medicaid.
c. Most recently, in Fowlkes v. Adamec, 432 F.3d 90 (2d Cir. 2005), the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the federal statute does not permit the Commissioner to conclude simply from the fact that there is an outstanding warrant for a person's arrest that he is "fleeing to avoid prosecution." [10 U.S.C. § 1382(e)(4)(A)] Instead, there must be some evidence that the person knows his apprehension is sought.
d. For other conviction-related SSD and SSI barriers, see http://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.pdf(2001 Social Security Handbook).
e. Warning: because the Fleeing Felon bar applies to TANF and Food Stamps, the Department of Social Services (Human Resources Administration in New York City) will run a national warrant check on any client applying for Public Assistance.
f. Practice Tip: for extensive resources on restoring benefits in these situations, consult Reentry Net/NY at www.reentry.net/ny.
i) Warning:Note that for SSI and SSD, a recipient challenging the termination of benefits can receive aid continuing through the ALJ level appeal. If the recipient loses at the hearing, there is no aid continuing through the Hearing Council and federal court appeals.