Employees who have been fired or laid off may consider filing for unemployment benefits. However, sometimes a job termination may be related to the employee’s disability. Perhaps the employee worked for an employer that allowed certain accommodations for the disability that other employers might not allow. For example, an employer might allow a disabled employee to take longer breaks, perform light duties only, or be excused from overly strenuous tasks. As Missouri disability attorneys, we have seen those employees have greater difficulty finding a new job. While they look, they may file a SSDI claim, but could they also be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Qualifying for Benefits
To receive unemployment benefits, you must be ready and able to work. You will also be required to actively seek employment. However, when you file for Social Security Disability you are telling the federal government that you are unable to work because of your medical conditions. These assertions may be at odds with each other, but you might be eligible for unemployment benefits while waiting for Social Security to make a decision on your disability claim. Note, however, that you cannot receive unemployment if Social Security awards disability benefits.
Only those who are genuinely searching for gainful work may be entitled to unemployment. The Division of Labor may determine that you are not genuinely looking for work, but just trying to draw a check while you wait on Social Security. If so, they will stop your payments and send you a bill for the money they had already paid you.
Fraudulent Disability Claim or Unemployment Claim
Government agencies like the Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and state unemployment agencies watch for potentially fraudulent behavior.
For example, unemployment beneficiaries may be asked if they are actively seeking work, but also be asked if they have filed a disability claim. Personnel reviewing an unemployment application claim may red flag someone who says they have filed for disability. If the agency determines that the individual has received benefits in error, the individual typically has to repay the benefits.
Filing a Disability Claim While on Unemployment Can Be Risky
Make sure you are doing the right thing and protected from risk. When filing unemployment or disability claims, talk to an attorney who understands both.
If you have any questions about a Social Security claim, contact a disability attorney at any of our offices across Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call (618) 266-4038 or submit the Contact Form on our website for a free consultation.