Social Security Disability and Unemployment Benefits
If you are injured or disabled and anticipate not being able to work for at least one year, will filing for unemployment affect your SSDI claim?
It has been a long standing myth that a disabled individual should not apply for SSDI while drawing Unemployment benefits, but why? When you apply for disability you are claiming that you are unable to perform substantial gainful work activity for a minimum of twelve months. When you apply for unemployment benefits you are stating that you are willing and able to perform work that matches your skills and in some cases this requires full-time work. Some lawyers argue that this is a contradiction and the judge will consider the claimant’s testimony at the hearing is unreliable.
This is simply not the case; there are many other factors that can combat this theory. A claimant may be “willing” to work but due to their disability, may not be able to find a job suitable to their past job skills or education level and are unable to perform even sedentary work. A claimant’s financial situation may be so severe that their only way to maintain day-to-day living would be unemployment benefits. However, always let your attorney know when/if you have applied and or received unemployment benefits.
According to National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, the Congressional interest in overlapping SSDI and unemployment benefits has increased recently. In addition to the Senate bill that would offset benefits, S. 1099 a bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives, H.R. 1502 that would preclude (not offset) receipt of SSDI benefits for any month of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. The “Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act” would deem an individual to have engaged in substantial gainful activity (SGA) for any month that individual was entitled to unemployment insurance benefits. In addition, the individual would be deemed to have rendered “services” in a month for trial work period purposes if unemployment benefits were received in that month. The House bill is different from the Senate bill in that S. 1099 would simply offset the amount of the unemployment benefits from the SSDI benefits amount for any month of concurrent receipt. The House bill precludes eligibility for concurrent receipt months. In addition, by deeming such months as SGA or trial work period months, termination of benefits could occur sooner. The main sponsor of the bill is Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee. [NOSSCR Social Security Forum Volume 35, No. 7 – July, 2013]
Ultimately, it is your decision to make, but to assure your rights are being protected and that you are making the best decision for your circumstances, contact the Accident & Disability Attorneys of Monge & Associates today at (800) 860-8021. We are here to represent you, your family and friends!