A criminal conviction can have a number of collateral consequences that involve monetary costs or “financial impact” – with regard to, for example, eligibility for financial aid for education, financial penalties of various sorts, and eligibility for government benefits — any of which can make it much more difficult for an ex-offender to re-integrate into society. As a specific example of such an effect in the education area, the federal “Drug Free Student Loans Act of 1998” provides that individuals who were convicted of any offense under federal or state law involving the possession or sale or a controlled substance (regardless of whether it was a misdemeanor or felony) are temporarily or permanently ineligible for federal college loans, grants or work assistance.
In the government benefits area, the federal statute that makes individuals with a drug felony conviction permanently ineligible from receiving federal cash assistance and food stamps during his or her lifetime does not apply inNew York. States are permitted to opt out of this ban and New York, along with other states, has opted out. There are no relevant restrictions on the receipt of Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, under a state law that implements a federal law, individuals who have an outstanding felony warrant or have been found by a judicial determination to have violated probation or by an administrative adjudication to have violated parole are ineligible for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), food stamps and SSI. Federal laws also terminate Veterans Assistance and Social Security Title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) benefits for individuals who fled to avoid prosecution or custody for a crime that is a felony or violated a condition of probation or parole.
In the financial penalties area, there is a myriad of financial penalties in various state statutes, including fines, restitution, reparations, fees for parole supervision, mandatory surcharges, sex offender registration fees, and DNA databank fees. These financial penalties are particularly onerous for indigent individuals. These are among the many collateral consequences that negatively impact on the rights and privileges of ex-offenders and their families.