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Can a past unemployment claim affects a current Soc Sec Disability app, if it coincides with the time I became disabled?

Jacksonville, FL |

Social Security Disability?
How does an unemployment claim three years ago can affect my Social Security Disability claim that I'm about to file today, if I believe and put on the application that the day I became disabled happened during the time I was receiving unemployment check. I received a double whammy at the time. I lost my job, and a couple months later I started physically falling apart. It didn't occur to me at the time to file for disability. My physical condition has only gotten worst since then, now I have no job or unemployment check.

Say, Soc Sec look passed my unemployment claim and determined that I was disabled three years ago, would I receive back pay all the way back to 3 yrs or just 1 year if filed today.

Attorney Answers 3


This is a complicated situation for which there is no single answer. Entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits requires certification (probably on oath) that you are willing, ABLE, and available to work. When you apply for Social Security disability you are alleging that you are NOT ABLE to perform substantial gainful activity, that is, work at any kind of job available in the national economy. Social Security will almost certainly become aware of the unemployment benefits and will usually propose a later disability onset date, coinciding with the last UIB check, but may go so far as to use the unemployment application to support a finding that you really are not disabled at all. Occasionally there is a plausible explanation that results in the award of disability benefits for the same time periods. Representation by a particularly adept disability practitioner may be needed to pull it off.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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Unemployment compensation can be a difficult subject. it is not legally incompatible with Social Security Disability. That is to say, you can apply for both at the same time. However, as stated above, when you apply for unemployment compensation, you are stating that you are able to work. if you were to be awarded benefits before a hearing, it is quite possible that Social Security would pick a date when your benefits ended. If they award benefits prior to a hearing, and you feel that that date is incorrect, you can always appeal that date. There is a possibility that if you were to appeal the award of benefits for an earlier date, that can be reversed. In any event, if you go to a hearing, most ALJs will hold the unemployment compensation against you. That is to say, they will not award disability for any time you have received unemployment compensation. My argument has always been that is in a desperate scenario, as you most likely are, a claimant will do anything to receive legal benefits. That would include unemployment compensation. I argue that the claimant would be willing to try to work, but until they actually try , we do not know if he is capable of it. Whether the ALJ buys into that is another thing. I think your initial statement makes a lot of sense. You were laid off, he received benefits, and then you got physically worse. That should be your argument to the ALJ. If you continued to receive benefits after getting worse, you will simply have to see how that dilemma plays out with the ALJ. Good luck.

These comments are not intended to be legal advice. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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Paula Brown Sinclair

Paula Brown Sinclair


I have also been successful where the claimant did try to work and failed but remained in denial on the issue of ability. Then, a little later when the SocSec disability application was filed, the claimant was confronted with the truth that she was really already disabled when she tried.


I agree with Attorney Sinclair and, as she suggests, it is important to secure representation with an attorney in your area who knows the ALJs. For example, in one of our local offices, the ALJs have different reactions to the issue of unemployment. Some do not consider it an issue, while one or two will make it THE issue in the case. You need to be prepared for this going in and know how to address the issue with the particular ALJ.

Hope this was helpful and I wish you well.

Andrew W. Norfleet, Esquire Helping disabled individuals throughout Pennsylvania. DISCLAIMER: This post is intended as general information applicable only to the state of Pennsylvania and is personal in nature, not professional in nature. The information given is based strictly upon the facts provided. This post is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, or to provide any specific guarantee of confidentiality

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