Returning Citizens

Returning Citizens There are many Michigan employers who provide employment opportunities for ex-offenders who are willing to work hard and commit themselves to a new employment opportunity. With a statewide network of Service Centers, the Michigan Works! system serves nearly four million customers each year and is a great place to start. Another starting point is STEP AHEAD.

Some misconceptions about formerly incarcerated individuals and their families:

  • People with criminal records are automatically barred from employment.
    An arrest or conviction record will NOT automatically bar individuals from employment.
  • An employer can get a copy of your criminal history from companies that do background checks without your permission.
    According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers must get one’s permission, usually in writing, before asking a background screening company for a criminal history report. If one does not give permission or authorization, the application for employment may not get reviewed. If a person does give permission but does not get hired because of information in the report, the potential employer must follow several legal obligations.
  • A Veteran with criminal convictions or a history of incarceration is not eligible for VA health care.
    An eligible Veteran, who is not currently incarcerated, can use VA care regardless of any criminal history, including incarceration. Only when an otherwise eligible Veteran is currently incarcerated, or in fugitive felon status, is he or she not able to use VA health care.
  • Eligibility for Social Security benefits cannot be reinstated when an individual is released from incarceration.
    Social Security benefits are not payable if an individual is convicted of a criminal offense and confined. However, monthly benefits usually can be reinstated after a period of incarceration by contacting Social Security and providing proof of release.
  • A person with a criminal record is not eligible to receive federal student financial aid.
    Individuals who are currently incarcerated in a federal, state, or local correctional institution have some limited eligibility for federal student aid. In general, restrictions on federal student aid eligibility are removed for formerly incarcerated individuals, including those on probation, on parole, or residing in a halfway house.

Helpful Resources for Ex-Offenders


Job Search Tips

Creating a Positive First Impression

Best Industries and Jobs for Ex-Offenders

How to Search your Criminal Record

Completing Job Applications

Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Federal Bonding Program

Michigan Department of Corrections

Michigan Works!

Connect with your local Michigan Works! One-Stop Service Center to find career events in your area and get access to other valuable resources.

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