Social Security Disability and Receipt of Unemployment Insurance

     Social Security Disability or SSI claimants often wonder whether they can receive unemployment compensation and still apply for and receive Social Security Disability.  A person receiving unemployment benefits must have affirmed that he is able to work, and, in many cases, he must also show that he is actively seeking work.  The difficulty presented by a claimant who has filed for unemployment benefits and social security disability benefits at the same time is whether the claimant’s statement about his ability to work is an automatic bar to the receipt of disability benefits.

     In November of 2006, the Chief Judge sent a memorandum to Regional Chief Judges reminding ALJs that the receipt of unemployment insurance benefits does not preclude the receipt of Social Security Disability benefits.  The memorandum directed ALJs to be mindful of the principles contained in SSR 00-1c and Cleveland v. Policy Management Systems Corp.  In that case, the Supreme Court held that a claim for SSDI is often consistent with a claim for relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act because under the presumptions contained in the five-step sequential evaluation process, a person can qualify for SSDI even though he or she remains capable of performing some work. 

     Further, in 1993, a reminder was sent to the ALJs stating:

An ALJ may consider a claimant’s receipt of unemployment compensation, as well as any statement the claimant may have made in connection with the unemployment compensation claim (e.g. a claimant’s statement that he or she was able to work), when evaluation the claimant’s credibility.  However, the ALJ may not base his or her decision solely on those factors. The ALJ’s decision must reflect a fair and impartial consideration of all of the evidence in the claimant’s record, and ALJ’s findings and conclusions must be supported by the evidence. 

     Some courts have found that an application for unemployment benefits is some evidence, but is not conclusive evidence, to preclude a claim of disability though an application for unemployment benefits adversely affects the claimant’s credibility.  However, other courts have held that receipt of unemployment benefits does not mean that a claimant is able to work because a plaintiff’s desire to work does not indicate that she is actually able to work.   

     If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, long or short-term disability, VA disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation.  We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, through Facebook, or through our website.  Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, ChattanoogaKingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.


About farmerdreiser

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, The Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser provide comprehensive representation to injured victims throughout eastern Tennessee in personal injury, Social Security disability, and workers' compensation cases.
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