Unemployment benefits and Social Security Disability

Posted April 9, 2015 by Premier Disability Services, LLC® Unemployment benefits are becoming an increasingly difficult issue for claimants to overcome in their Social Security Disability claims.  The problem is that both programs require the claimant to make contradicting statements in order to receive the benefits.  In order to receive unemployment benefits in most states, a claimant must certify that they are “ready and able” to work.  Obviously, this is highly contradictory to a claim for Social Security Disability that requires a claimant to prove they are unable to work at the substantial gainful level due to a medical impairment.  There are methods that can be used to overcome this contradiction.

First, being found disabled under the standards of the Social Security Act does not necessarily mean that a person cannot work at all.  Age plays a major factor in the Social Security Disability process.  For a claimant who is 50 years of age or older who cannot perform their past work, they may be found disabled even if they were capable of performing a sedentary job.  This is an important factor to remember for claimants 50+ years of age who received unemployment benefits during their disability period.  A strong argument can be made that the claimant in this situation is “ready and able to work” so long as the work is at the sedentary level.  Under these circumstances, there are no conflicting statements being made.

Claimants should also consider whether or not they fully understood what they were attesting to when filing for unemployment benefits.  Many claimants who are filing for disability benefits suffer from severe mental or cognitive impairments.  If these impairments prevented a claimant from understanding the requirements of filing for unemployment benefits, a legitimate argument can be made that their disability prevented them from understanding the contradiction.

Finally, in order to avoid this inherent contradiction, a claimant can simply amend their alleged onset date of disability until after they stopped receiving the unemployment benefits.  To be clear, this may not completely solve the problem.  However, it should help to eliminate the issues associated with concurrent receipt of these benefits.

Addressing the issue of unemployment benefits can be complicated depending on each claimant’s individual circumstances.  Hiring an experienced Representative can be crucial so that the proper action can be taken to address the individual circumstances.  If you are considering filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, please contact us for a free evaluation.

By: Thomas A. Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®