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Collecting unemployment compensation while seeking Social Security disability benefits

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | Oct 12, 2012 | 0 Comments


Recently, the issue of collecting unemployment compensation while seeking Social Security disability benefits has come to the forefront. Unemployment compensation and Social Security disability are two separate programs, with two different goals. drug test (Alex E. Primos).jpgSome Social Security disability experts believe that collecting unemployment compensation while applying for Social Security disability is not a good idea. When you receive unemployment compensation and Social Security disability, you are making two inconsistent statements. In order to receive unemployment compensation, you are claiming that you are ready, willing and able to work, and are not disabled. However, to get Social Security disability benefits, you are claiming that you cannot perform any type of work at a substantial gainful activity level. Essentially, you are saying that you are able and unable to work at the same time. Many administrative law judges are asking Social Security disability applicants whether they have filed for unemployment benefits. Some judges are taking the position that if you are ready, willing and able to work, then by definition, you are not disabled. It has been surmised that this new focus on the interplay between Social Security disability and unemployment compensation is a result of the fears about Social Security's funding. It seems that many unemployed workers are less likely to apply for disability as long as they receive unemployment benefits. However, once those unemployment benefits run out, they apply for Social Security Disability benefits. Some Argue that applicants with either manageable health impairments, or no impairments at all, are applying for benefits from a cash-strapped system because they cannot receive unemployment benefits anymore. On the other hand, the Social Security Administration's official stance is that receiving unemployment benefits does not prevent someone from receiving Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration recommends that a disability claims manager or administrative law judge should consider an filing for unemployment benefits as one of the factors when considering whether an applicant is disabled. Experts also point out that unemployment compensation's requirement that the applicant be ready, willing and able to work, and Social Security disability's requirement that you cannot perform work at a gainful activity level are not as inconsistent as they first appear. If you are over the age of 50 and your past work was physically demanding, you are considered disabled by the Social Security Administration if you can only perform sedentary work. Yet a 55 year-old former laborer that is only capable of sedentary work would be considered ready, willing and able to work for unemployment compensation purposes. In addition, for Social Security disability purposes, performing at a gainful activity level generally means full-time work. A worker that is unable to perform 8 hours a day for 40 hours per week may then be considered disabled under Social Security disability. Yet, if they are ready, able and willing to work, at a part-time level, they may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. When deciding whether to apply for unemployment compensation benefits at the same time as Social Security disability benefits, it is beneficial to discuss the pros and cons with disability and social security lawyer. See Related Links: Four Reasons to Hire a Social Security Disability Attorney 5 Ways an Attorney Can Help With Your Disability Claim

About the Author

Louis B. Lusk

About Louis B. Lusk – Disability Attorney Attorney Louis B. Lusk has helped thousands of disabled individuals recover Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits.  He is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organizat...


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