According to The Legal Action Center (LAC), federal law prohibits those who have been convicted of a drug-related felony from receiving both food stamps and cash assistance (Temporary Aid for Needy Families, aka TANF). However, as the federal law allows, many states have passed legislation that lifts the ban for certain drug felons (such as those charged only with drug possession, or who have completed drug treatment). Other states have removed the ban entirely. According to the LAC, as of November 2011, all but 10 states have either eliminated or modified the ban.
Missouri is one state that entirely prohibits drug felons from receiving these forms of public assistance. A recent Kansas City Star article tells the story of one man who was convicted of narcotics possession over 13 years ago, yet he’s since not only served his time but started a business and returned to college. Yet, unless the law changes, he will be continue to ineligible for food stamps and TANF.
Being convicted of a federal drug crime is a serious matter and can result in a sentence including significant prison time. Because of these federal welfare laws, drug felons face additional struggles upon their release from prison – that even those convicted of violent crimes don’t – due to their inability to obtain temporary public assistance. If you’re facing federal drug charges, it’s essential to obtain top-notch representation by an experienced federal drug crime lawyer.