Can you Lose your Military Retirement Pay if Convicted of a Felony

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Ben

Can you Lose your Military Retirement Pay if Convicted of a Felony

If you are convicted of a felony, can you lose your military retirement pay? In the United States, when there is an individual who has been convicted of a felony, they may have to forfeit their pension. However, it does not apply in all cases.

To be sure that you do not lose your military retirement benefits if convicted of a felony, please contact a law office for more information.

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Overview of Incarcerated Veterans

If a Veteran is in prison for more than 60 days, their VA benefits will be reduced. If they are rated as being 20% or more disabled, the Veteran can only get 10% disability payments. If a Veteran has a disability of 10% or less, then they get half the money for their disability. If someone goes to prison and they have service-connected disabilities, then when they come out of prison, they might get the full amount again.

When you are on a payment plan, the payments are not reduced if you participate in work release programs, reside in halfway houses (also known as “residential re-entry centers”), or are under community command. The amount of any increased compensation granted to an incarcerated Veteran that results from other than a statutory rate growth may be subject to reduction due to incarceration.

What Happens to My Veterans Disability Benefits While Awaiting a Trial?

Veterans who are waiting to go to court after they have been arrested will not stop getting their benefits. If you are not guilty, the VA will only make changes to your benefits after you have been convicted. Generally, you retain your entitlement to benefits.

What If My Conviction Is Overturned?

If you are convicted of a felony, but the conviction is later overturned on appeal, the VA will send you retroactive payments of disability benefits. The VA would give you money back if they took it all away from your pay. But this does not include your pension. If your conviction is revoked on appeal, the VA will know about it, so make sure to tell them.

Possible Legal Issues Surrounding Military Retirement Benefits


If you are in prison and have a criminal record, this could affect your VA benefits. Suppose you had been convicted of a crime and were not incarcerated for more than 60 days. In that case, your retirement welfare (including your pensions, disability compensation, and education benefits) might be stopped or reduced. When you get departed jail, you will start to receive your payments again.

However, this will depend on what type of crime you committed. If it was a misdemeanor, then you will not have to do jail time. If it was a felony, then you might have to go to jail for a while. On most occasions, you will not be able to collect your pension if you are in jail. There is an exception, but that only applies if you are convicted of criminal disloyalty to the US. The crime was treason, espionage, sabotage, or any other type of crime against the US.


The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act means that if you are a service member and get divorced, your ex-spouse might be able to get certain benefits. Service members get benefits. You might get some of the money they paid into their medical care and retirement. The ex-spouse can appeal for direct payment of their share of the retirement pension from DFAS if the court approves and grants a court order. They need to have grounds for this.

  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Division of retirement welfare as an asset if the couple was married for at least ten years

Direct Payments will stop if:

  • The retired service member’s death
  • The former spouse’s death
  • The finished fulfillment of the terms of the court order

If the Decree of Divorce and the Domestic Relations Order are not drafted well, children of servicemember might lose their retirement benefits. If you do not have these done properly, your children may lose a lot of money. Hiring a firm with experience in this area can make all the difference to ensure that your benefits are not cut.

Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Beneficiary Disputes

Every service member is automatically covered by Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) when they join the military. If you have Traumatic Injury Protection, then if you are injured while on active duty, you can get money to help pay for the injury. If you are with your family while doing recovery and unable to work, this will give them an income. You can get a lot of money from SGLI. It is one of the best coverages in the military.

Fortunately, there have been very few circumstances in which the SGLI policy has been revoked. The coverage is normally paid out to the primary and secondary beneficiaries named in the policy upon the death of a service member – usually the spouse and children, respectively (though some policies may assign coverages differently).

In the circumstances of a divorce, you may choose another person to be your primary beneficiary. You can pick someone from your family or even a new spouse. If you don’t change the name of the primary beneficiary before you die, your proceeds will go to your preceding spouse, and there is very little that your survivors can do about it.

Alternatively, Prudential Insurance Company might, in some circumstances, award the policy proceeds to heirs. The effect of which can be disappointing because the money goes to people that the servicemember did not want to leave any interest to. Fortunately, in the event that your SGLI designation is not right because it was not presented or there were issues with the presented form, in many cases, our firm can assist you to ensure that your benefits are awarded to those who meant them.

If you are not sure about your military retirement benefits, you should consult with a lawyer. You should also inspect to see that the people who will get the money after you die are listed as beneficiaries.

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Veterans Affairs Benefits

Disability Compensation

Veterans who are disabled can get money from the government. But if they end up in jail for more than 60 days, then they will lose some of that.

  • Veterans with an injury that is 20% or more of their body are limited to the 10% disability rate. If a Veteran’s injury is 10%, they can only receive one-half the amount of money.
  • When a Veteran is released from prison, they may get their money back. If the service-connected disability at the time of release is severe, then they will get a lot of money.
  • People who participate in a work-release program or live in a halfway house do not have their payments reduced. People under community control also do not have their payments reduced.
  • There is a special law about how the amount of any compensation for an incarcerated Veteran may be reduced. If they are in prison for a misdemeanor, then they do not get their pay cut.
  • VA disability compensation (pay) is money that Veterans get from the government. The government pays Veterans who got sick or injured while they were serving in the military and for Veterans with an injury related to their service in the military.

You might be able to get VA disability benefits if your physical condition or mental health condition were not caused by service. Your physical condition or mental health condition could have developed before, during, or after service. Veteran’s disability benefits are money you earn from being in the military. This is how to get them and manage them.


If someone is in the military and goes to prison, their pension might stop. If they are convicted of a misdeed, their pension will stop on the 61st day of imprisonment. VA encourages Veterans to tell VBA if they go to jail. Sometimes, people get more money than they need because of mistakes. This can happen if someone is in jail and still getting paid for their job while still being in jail.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a tax-free benefit for people who are veterans. It is called the Veteran Pension, and it is only for those who have to do duty in the military for at least 20 years or were discharged with a disability after at least 30 days of service. This is called “supplemental income” for people who have served in the army. If you get out of the army and have a dishonor discharge, you are not eligible. You need to serve at least 90 days and one day during a war to be eligible.

The amount of benefits you get is based on your yearly family income. If you went into the military after September 7, 1980, you must have served for at least two years or the full time that you were called to duty. You also need to have served during a time where there was a war going on.

Apportionment to Spouse or Children

An incarcerated Veteran’s disability compensation may be apportioned to the Veteran’s spouse, child or children, and dependent parents. VA will consider how much a person needs it when deciding how much of it to give them. For example, if someone is told they might need more of the money than someone who is younger.

  • Claimant’s income and living expenses,
  • Amount of compensation available to be apportioned,
  • If you have other people who need money or anyone with a special need, then they will care about how much money you got.

Education Benefits

Many people who served in the military are eligible to get money from education benefits. They can acquire up to 36 months of education benefits under a law called the Post-9/11 GI Bill. You can get benefits for 15 years after your last period of active duty. You need to have served at least 90 consecutive days. The Forever GI Bill became law in 2017.

One of the benefits is that it removed the 15-year restriction on those who are discharged after January. 1, 2013. If you are a Veteran and your children go to college, then they can get in-state tuition rates. This is true for all 50 states. You must enroll within three years of your discharge, though, or else you cannot get this benefit.

Are You Eligible For VA Medical Care While Imprisoned?

Incarcerated soldiers do not forfeit their eligibility for medical care. However, regulations currently restrict the Department of Veterans Affairs from providing hospital and outpatient care to an incarcerated soldier who is an inmate in an institution, given that another government agency has a duty to provide such benefits.

Veterans who are released from prison or jail and go into a program for re-entry (a halfway house or a community residential re-entry center) will not be eligible for rent assistance.

The VA may provide care to a Veteran who has been released from prison. Veterans can apply for the VA healthcare system when they get out of the military. They should contact a VA healthcare facility close to where they live.

Veterans Affairs Programs for Justice-Involved Veterans

Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program

The Health Care for Re-entry Veterans (HCRV) Program is a health program that helps people who have been in jail or prison to be healthy again. A critical part of HCRV is providing details to Veterans while they are incarcerated to plan for reentry themselves. The HCRV program is to avert Veterans from becoming homeless. This happens when they are reintegrated back into the community.

Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO) Initiative

Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) is designed to help Veteran avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental disease and extended incarceration. By ensuring suitable justice-involved Veterans receive timely access to VA healthcare, specifically mental health and substance wield services (if clinically indicated) and other VA services as appropriate.

When Will VA Benefits Be Resumed?

  • Veterans can let the VA know about their release date in 30 days or less. You can do this by giving them evidence from the parole board or other prison sources that tell when you are scheduled to be released.
  • If you are released from prison, you can get a reduction in the money that you owe for your benefits from the VA. You need to tell them within one year of being released or when they find out. VA schedules a medical exam to see if the person’s disability is improving.

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If you are facing criminal prosecution, your veterans’ benefits may be on the line. Although criminal charges alone will not affect your benefits, a conviction for a crime that results in imprisonment may result in a reduction of your disability compensation or the suspension of your non-service-connected pension payments. In some cases, retirement pay could even be revoked if convicted of certain crimes like murder and espionage.

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