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Social Security Disability and Unemployment Benefits

Thanks to Attorney Mark Papa for this recent submission for our blog. A common scenario in my practice goes like this: Client applies for Social Security Disability benefits and is turned down and knowing that there is a high likelihood of another turn down and a long wait (over a year) before a hearing and with no income, the client applies for and begins receiving unemployment benefits. How does the application and receipt of unemployment benefits affect the Social Security Disability claim?

The most significant impact goes to the credibility of the claimant. On the one hand, when applying for Social Security Disability, the statement being made is “I am disabled and unable to work.” On the other hand, when applying for unemployment benefits, the statement being made is “I am able to work and am available to work, I just have not been able to find a job.” Which statement will the social security judge believe? The social security judge is not bound by the decisions of another governmental agency, however, that decision must be considered. On the one hand, if an application for unemployment benefits is denied because of inability to work, it can be used?to show the inability to work. If the unemployment claim is approved, then that may be used as evidence of the ability to work. There is nothing, however, that prevents the receipt of Social Security Disability benefits due to receipt of unemployment benefits. The bottom line is, having a claim for Social Security Disability benefits while receiving unemployment benefits (and vice versa) raises a red flag and, more likely than not, will have to be explained. Please call Harrell and Harrell or visit us on the web to discuss your Social Security Disability denial. 800-251-1111

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