Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com
The state of Michigan has awarded $1.5 million to Richard Phillips who was locked up in prison for 45 years for a murder he didn’t commit. The $1.5 million seems like a lot of money, and it is, but Phillips couldn’t work a job that would have enabled him to earn a salary, a pension and Social Security Benefits because he was in prison.
Men and women cannot receive Social Security unless they earned at least 40 credits for 10 years of work, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration said in 2015. “Social Security does not have a program that compensates wrongfully convicted individuals with no work history,” the spokesperson wrote in an email.
Phillips may qualify for Supplemental Security Income, which pays a modest monthly benefit to people who don’t have any income. He earns some money selling paintings he drew in prison.
A Go Fund Me Page has been established to help Phillips.
Phillips, who is now 73, was sentenced to prison when he was 26 years old in 1971.
His conviction was overturned in 2017 when another man confessed to the murder. University of Michigan law students learned about the man’s confession and went to court.
Meanwhile, the cops and prosecutors who convicted him are now retired and collecting their pensions.
Phillips served more time in prison than any other wrongfully convicted man. After being released from prison, Phillips said he would like to see members of family who has not seen in decades.