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Getting Social Security Disability Benefits While Collecting Unemployment

March 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 158

If you have lost your job, and are collecting unemployment benefits, can you seek Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, too? Yes, you're entitled to SSDI if you are disabled and can't work. Go ahead and apply if this is your medical situation. Do it soon, before you run out of unemployment benefits. But, be aware that applying for disability while collecting unemployment is risky.

Can You Work?

To collect unemployment benefits, you must commit to your state labor department that you are able to work and are actively looking for work. When you apply to the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits, you are admitting that you can't work because you have a medical condition that is preventing you from doing so.

The Work Conflict

As long as you are looking for work you think you can handle, and you are keeping a good record of jobs you have applied to, you should be okay as far as not risking your continued eligibility for unemployment benefits. The more difficult challenge will be in proving to SSA that you are disabled.

When you apply at the initial level, an SSA disability examiner in your state reviews the medical facts of your case to decide if you are able to work. Collecting unemployment compensation may appear contradictory. The examiner could think that you are able to work, even though you're telling SSA that you can't. Don't be surprised if your case is denied at this point in the process.

Don't Give Up

Keep it going with an appeal. Even if you get denied a second time, don't stop. Your case will go on to the hearing level, giving you the opportunity to personally explain your circumstances to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

The ALJ takes a more subjective review of the facts surrounding your case. If you can explain to the judge that you tried to find work within your physical limitations while collecting unemployment but couldn't find a job, the judge may decide that you tried. You have the desire to work but physically can't. And if you have the substantial medical history that is required to support your case, the outcome should work in your favor.

Money While You Wait

It can take many months, even years, to get through the disability application process. If you're collecting unemployment benefits now, don't wait for those benefits to end. At least you will have some money coming in while waiting for a decision on your disability case.

Also, you can't get both unemployment and SSDI benefits. You must tell the unemployment office when your Social Security disability claim is approved. You may also have to pay back months of unemployment benefits. This could happen if SSA pays you a lump sum of back benefits representing how long it took to decide your case. Make sure you check into this with your labor department. Payback rules are not the same in every state.

The eligibility rules for winning SSDI benefits while collecting unemployment is, without a doubt, complex.

Getting professional guidance from a Social Security disability advocacy group or attorney can certainly go far in helping you get through the complexities of both programs so that you can get the additional income benefits you need

Source: EzineArticles
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