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Can I Collect Unemployment and Disability Benefits?

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits and unemployment simultaneously can be a thorny situation because an individual is claiming two very different things. The problem is that when an individual files for unemployment benefits he or she is certifying that they are ready, willing, and able to work but they are not able to find employment. In addition, most states further require that an individual certify periodically that they have been actively looking for full time employment. In contrast, when an individual applies for Social Security Disability benefits, he or she is claiming that they are not capable of working full time at a substantial gainful level for twelve consecutive months or anticipate that they will not be capable of working for twelve consecutive months due to a mental or physical impairment regardless of whether there is work available in the economy.

There is no simple answer to whether a person should try to collect unemployment benefits and file for disability at the same time. Social Security's official position is that collecting unemployment benefits does not automatically disqualify or prevent someone from applying for or collecting Social Security disability benefits. However, Social Security and Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) at the hearing level, will question the collection of unemployment, and ask about the kinds of jobs a person was applying for, their efforts in applying for work, and whether the individual was offered or accepted any employment. Ultimately, Social Security and ALJs will consider the totality of the underlying circumstances.

If you are considering filing for disability benefits and are already collecting unemployment or are considering filing for unemployment while your disability application is pending, you should talk to a disability lawyer to make the best decision for your individual situation.

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Contact us online or call our offices directly at 888-351-0427 for a free case evaluation. All cases are taken on contingency, meaning there are no fees until we recover benefits for you.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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