Do You Lose Your Military Benefits If Convicted of a Felony?

  • Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), service members cannot lose their benefits if convicted of a felony.
  • To protect service members from losing their military benefits if they are convicted of a crime, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was established in 1994.
  • Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), former spouses of service members cannot lose their benefits if their former spouse has been convicted of a felony.

Military benefits are a privilege, not a right. This means that they can be taken away at any time. However, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects service members from losing their military benefits when they have been convicted of a felony.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) protects former spouses of service members from losing military benefits if their former spouse has been convicted of a felony.

Can Felons Receive VA Home Loans?

If you've been convicted of a felony, there are a couple of options for you. First, the VA can reclassify your conviction. The VA can reclassify a felony to a misdemeanor if the following conditions are met:
You served less than 180 days in prison.

You did not complete your entire sentence.

The conviction was for a misdemeanor or petty offense, such as a DUI.

The conviction was for a nonviolent felony.

The conviction is for a disqualifying felony.

The conviction was for a disqualifying felony where the VA reclassified the conviction to a misdemeanor.

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The conviction was for an offense now considered a misdemeanor.

The conviction was for an offense now considered a misdemeanor where the VA reclassified the conviction to a misdemeanor.

If you qualify, the VA will reclassify your conviction. In this case, you need not disclose your conviction on any subsequent home loan application.
Second, the VA can waive your disqualification. The VA may waive your disqualification if you meet the following criteria:
You served more than 10 years in the selected reserve of the National Guard or Reserves.

You completed your sentence with no dishonorable discharge.

You completed your sentence with no dishonorable discharge and were not dishonorably discharged.

You completed your sentence with no dishonorable discharge and were not dishonorably discharged and have an honorable discharge certificate.

You completed your sentence with no dishonorable discharge and were not dishonorably discharged and have an honorable discharge certificate with no sentence of confinement.

If you meet these criteria, the VA will waive your disqualification. In this case, you must disclose your conviction on any subsequent home loan application.

Can Felons Receive GI Bill Benefits?

Yes, felons can receive their GI Bill benefits. However, they must meet certain conditions:
The felon must have served at least four years of service, including at least one day of active duty.

The felon must receive an honorable discharge.

The felon must have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or longer.

The felon must complete the VA Form 22-1990.

The felon must be the dependent or survivor of a deceased or disabled veteran.