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Will accepting unemployment benefits undermine and possibly cause denial of disability claim before social security?

Gilbert, AZ |

To state this question another way, can I accept unemployment benefits while simultaneously making disability claim before the Social Security Administration? I have been unemployed for 5 months due to massive heart attack and medically unable to perform the duties of my prior occupation.

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Attorney answers 2


Maybe. Here'spart of the problem. To collect unemployment benefits in most states, you have to certify you are able and willing to accept employment. if you are medically disabled, or if your doctor says you cannot return to work yet, you might be committing fraud.

On the other hand, if you are over 50, you could be able to work at a sedentary or sit down job and collect unemployment benefits, and still pursue a claim for SS benefits because for most people being over 50 and limited to sedentary work means SSA will find you are disabled. So you can be able to work according to state rules and still be disabled according to SSA rules.

This is a complicated area. I have a little more information on this issue at the following link:

You might want to meet with an attorney to discuss this in more detail and share more information than is presented here. You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

And, if you are able to work, depending on your age

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Brian S Wayson

Brian S Wayson


Excellent information and insight, as always.


In my jurisdiction, most judges will not award Social Security benefits for ther period of time you are on Unemployment Compensation. The rationale is that in order to get Unemployment you have to say you are "able and available" for work which is inconsistent with telling Social Security you are "disabled" for work.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.