Unemployment Compensation And Social Security Benefits

Will Receipt Of Unemployment Benefits Affect My Eligibility For Social Security Disability Benefits?

Many people work as long as they can, even with existing medical conditions and limitations. Then they get laid off, or the company downsizes and they are first to lose their job. And, while we all know how long it takes from the time a claimant files a claim for Social Security until there is a hearing and decision, most clients do not have the financial resources to last two to three years with no income. To keep their home, to pay their bills and to just try to survive, they file for unemployment insurance benefits (UIB).

Social Security Administration Official Policy

SSA official policy is supposed to be that receiving UIB does not preclude receipt of Social Security or SSI benefits. In fact, especially for a client over age 50, it is very possible to get UIB and Social Security benefits. For example, a 50-year-old person with a high school education and unskilled work experience (or with no transferable skills) who cannot return to past relevant work and who is limited to sedentary work is "disabled" under Social Security rules. And for a similar 55-year-old client, the person is disabled even if he or she is able to do what Social Security calls light work. So, a client can be totally honest in claiming he or she is disabled while claiming he or she can do some work.

How Is This Policy Applied?

What the SSA is supposed to do is look at the totality of the circumstances in evaluating whether or not you are disabled, including but not limited to your medical conditions, treating source records, past work history, earnings and receipt of unemployment compensation. However, some Administrative Law Judges are pretty clear — they believe that if you are receiving unemployment compensation, then you think that you can work, and this conflicts with a claim for disability. An amended onset date, coinciding with the date UIB ended, is not unusual.

The bottom-line: Receiving unemployment compensation benefits will not automatically disqualify you from receiving social security disability benefits, but it can and will be used against you.

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If you have any questions, contact an experienced attorney at the law office of Manring & Farrell for a free initial consultation. Call 614-678-7199 or contact us online.