It is possible to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while you are receiving unemployment benefits, but it is problematic. The trouble is that if you file for SSDI you are essentially saying that you can’t work for at least a year. However, if you receive unemployment benefits you are saying that you are willing and able to work and are indeed looking for work. According to the Social Security Administration, you cannot be barred from receiving disability benefits because you are unemployed. However, the administrative law panel that reviews your SSDI application can use your receipt of unemployment benefits as a factor in deciding your disability case. The complexity of these issues will require the expertise and experience of a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney to help you properly handle this case.
How SSDI Judges View Unemployment Benefits
The people who will review your SSDI application will know that you are collecting unemployment benefits. They have access to all such information. Some judges will deny your disability claim if you received unemployment after applying for disability. Other judges are more sympathetic to applicants. They understand that people must live on something, and that they cannot wait for a disability claim to go through the review process.
It is permissible to collect unemployment if you are only seeking part-time work, which means that you are not necessarily telling the government that you are looking for full time work. Disability applicants can work a limited amount of time.
The administrative judges who review your application will take all these factors into account.
Should I File?
If you are unemployed and you have a good reason to file for SSDI, the first thing you should do is talk to a SSDI attorney. A SSDI attorney will have deep insight into the rules and regulations concerning these two benefit programs. They will tell you whether you are allowed to receive both unemployment and SSDI, and they will advise you on how to file for the latter if you are currently receiving the former.
You may be in a situation in which you received unemployment benefits because you were laid off from your job, you went looking for full time work, and only recently found out that your physical condition has worsened. In this instance, you have a valid argument to make to resolve the legal conflict of collecting unemployment and disability benefits.
Here are some examples of what you can tell the people reviewing your SSDI application or an administrative judge that hears your case:
- You were applying for jobs that were within your physical limitations
- You were applying for part time jobs exclusively
- You applied for jobs in which the employer agreed to accommodate your disability
- Your job skills can be applied to light work
- You have received job training that allows you to do light work
If you have applied for a job that requires you to sit-down and you are over 50, you can make a strong case to receive both types of benefit.
No matter the specific circumstances of your case, you should seek legal counsel before filing your SSDI claim. You want to make your best case for why you should receive SSDI while also receiving unemployment benefits. An experienced SSDI lawyer can help you gather the facts and put together the argument needed to press your claim.
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