In many cases, people who are applying for Social Security disability benefits are already receiving unemployment benefits or are thinking of applying for unemployment benefits. And it is a good question to ask whether you can apply for and receive both types of benefits.
Although is may seem like a simple question, it is actually a complicated answer. It depends on various factors, some of which are out of our control.
When you apply and receive unemployment, you are certifying that you are ready, willing and able to work, and in order to receive unemployment payments, you are required to actively look for work. On the other hand, when you apply for Social Security disability benefits, you are saying that you are unable to work. Despite this contradiction, there is no specific rule that prevents you from applying for and receiving both types of benefits.
The most significant factor out of our control is who is the administrative law judge assigned to hear your disability case. The Social Security judge will have information that show whether you received unemployment payments. Some judges find this information very important in making their decision. You may be questioned about why you applied for unemployment, asserting your ability to work, and then applied for Social Security disability, asserting your inability to work. This may affect the judge's view of your credibility and ultimately your entitlement to disability benefits. However, many judges understand that if you are unemployed due to a medical condition, you will be in a very difficulty financial situation and that you will do whatever is necessary to provide for yourself and your family. Other judge's find the question of unemployment benefits to be mostly irrelevant and it will not be an issue at all in their decision.
As an attorney with experience in these matters, I can help you understand these issues. Contact me for your free consulation so we can discuss options for how best to deal with them in your specific case.