The range of benefits that a person can collect when they’re out of work can be mind-boggling and very confusing to work through. For example, if you end up out of work due to a disabling injury, can you collect Social Security and unemployment benefits at the same time? It can be extremely tricky to collect different kinds of benefits, some of which can be contradictory in the eyes of the government. Let’s look at the ways that unemployment benefits and Social Security can conflict, and how having the right attorney in your corner can help your case.
Social Security and Unemployment
Officially, the Social Security Administration says collecting unemployment doesn’t bar you from getting approved for disability. However, when the application goes in, an administrative law judge may consider the benefits you get from unemployment while they review your disability case.
The SSA does have access to unemployment benefits information, and this information is usually included when you file your claim. Since each disability judge makes decisions on a case-by-case basis, whether unemployment affects your claim depends on the judge. Some judges don’t like to see people receiving both kinds of benefits. Some will only approve disability after unemployment runs out and will request a modified onset date. Still, others understand that people need income in order to make ends meet and will approve your claim.
Should I Apply for Unemployment?
This is a tricky question because the answer to whether you get approved is so individual. In some cases, it may be better to wait until your disability is approved to apply for unemployment, or vice-versa. If your claim for disability is denied due to unemployment, you can always appeal, but you may be required at your appeal hearing to justify why you need both.
The Social Security Administration is becoming harsher with each passing year in terms of how strictly they adjudicate claims. On the surface, this is to protect against fraud; the SSA looks closely at any application to ensure that the rationale for it is valid. As Social Security funds dwindle, it’s only going to get worse moving on.
That being said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t legally be able to collect both unemployment and disability if you have a valid reason. If you are still attempting to find work that falls within the scope of your new limitations, you’re looking for part-time work, you’re applying for jobs that will need to accommodate your disability, or you meet certain age requirements, you should very much be able to support an argument for benefits.
Work with a Social Security and Unemployment Benefits Lawyer
Your best bet to fight difficult administrative judges is to work with a qualified and experienced unemployment benefits and Social Security lawyer. Challenging and appealing an SSDI denial is tricky and can be very stressful. That’s why you need the best possible help to get the right results.
If you’re in this situation and you need help, Dr. Bill LaTour is a Social Security attorney in the Orange County and Greater Los Angeles region who is ready to help. Give our law offices a call for a consultation today!