I am frequently asked by my clients if receiving unemployment benefits while they are applying for social security disability will affect the outcome of their disability application. The answer is not a simple one as there are many factors one must consider before offering an opinion.
For most social security disability lawyers in Philadelphia, it is not uncommon to have clients who were discharged from their employment due to the economic climate that currently exists in our country. Typically, for those who are let go by their employer, the first phone call is to the unemployment agency to find out what must be done to recieve unemployment benefits. After all, now that the client's income stream has disappeared, the primary concern becomes paying for living expenses. At the same time, many of those who are now unemployed are finding that because of a serious medical condition, it is unrealistic that they are going to be able to return to the labor force.
In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must confirm that you are actively looking for employment and that you are capable of working. This is in contrast to the statement made to the Social Security Administration when appling for disability benefits because in order to be eligible for Social Security Disability, you must confirm that you are not only no longer working, but you do not anticipate returning to work as a result of your medical condition.
When appearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who in many social security disability cases, is the individual who will decide the outcome in your disability claim, the question of unemployment can and will most likely come up for discussion. I have seen the outcome go both ways in terms of the result for my clients as to their eligibility for disability benefits.