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Unemployment Benefits: How They Can Affect a Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits

Applying for and receiving unemployment benefits can pose a problem, especially if you have a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). By applying for both sets of benefits, you are making two statements that are rather contradictory. First, by applying for and receiving unemployment benefits, you are claiming that you are able to work, but you are unable to find employment. By then applying for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Insurance benefits, you would be indicating that you are unable to perform any type of work as a result of a disability that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least twelve-months. Indicating that you are both able to work and unable to work simultaneously. Because these two statements contradict one another, it can lead to problems of credibility with regards to your disability. More specifically, if you indicate to one government agency that you can work, and then indicate to another that you cannot, an Administrative Law Judge may find your testimony regarding your claimed disability to be less credible.

The good news, however, can be found in a memo that was issued on August 9, 2010. Therein, Frank A. Cristaudo, former Chief Administrative Law Judge, provided a reminder to all Administrative Law Judges that stated, "Receipt of unemployment benefits does not preclude the receipt of Social Security disability benefits. The receipt of unemployment benefits is only one of many factors that must be considered in determining whether the claimant is disabled." So, what does this mean? Well, simply put, it means that while applying for and receiving unemployment benefits does not automatically preclude you from receiving SSD or SSI benefits, it will be one of the many factors and Administrative Law Judge will take into consideration when determining if you qualify to receive said benefits.

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