A felon who has paid his debt to society or who is paying his debt to society may wonder if he qualifies for Medicare benefits. As long as he is not fleeing from the government, he can apply for benefits. If he is on the outside and meets the other qualifications, he can also apply for social security.
Depending on the situation and the state, he may have to undergo a waiting period that is determined by the type of the crime committed. Each states may have their own guidelines on waiting periods.
Before a felon can get Medicare benefits, he must wait for up to 15 years before he can apply. The most serious crimes require this. Less serious crimes that deal more with property damage than damage to people have a period of ten years. The least serious have periods of 5 years.
A felon can get Medicare waiting times reduce if his probation offer signs a paper saying that he is not a threat to society. The paper may reduce his waiting time by one year. Convicted felons may need to apply for Medicaid, but that program has its own rules.
A felon must still meet the age or the disability requirements before he can receive help from the government-sponsored program. If the coverage is an emergency, or if he qualifies for Medicare because of end-stage renal failure, the waiting requirements may be waived.
The Medicare web site does not give this information readily in the FAQ. A former felon who has questions may want to ask his probation officer if he still has one or ask an employee at his local social security office.