If I collect unemployment compensation benefits, will it hurt my application for Social Security disability benefits?

            To be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, you must be ready, willing and able to work.  To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, you must be disabled from all forms of employment.  Claimimg that you are ready, willing and able to work is inconsistent with a simultaneous claim that you're disabled from all employment.  

            There are situations in which an application for unemployment compensation benefits is consistent with an applicant for Social Security disability benefits.  If you are capable of working light duty work only and are 55 or older, you could be found disabled using rules from the Social Security Medical-Vocational guidelines.  

            Some administrative law judges understand that people need money to live and are willing to forgive an inconsistency between a claimant's receipt of unemployment compensation benefits and their application for Social Security disability benefits.  Many judges, however, are not particularly impressed by application for Social Security disability benefits when the only reason you are not working is you were laid off because of a lack of work or a plant closing.  Under the law, receipt of unemployment compensation benefits is not conclusive proof that you are not disabled.  Nonetheless, you need to understand that if you apply for and receive unemployment compensation benefits (and you are not entitled to Social Security disability benefits under the medical vocational guidelines), a judge may view your receipt of unemployment compensation benefits as evidence that you are not disabled.  

Greg Boles
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