Although there are risks if a claimant applies for both unemployment insurance benefits and Social Security Disability benefits contemporaneously, one is not precluded from filing for both at the same time. In order to receive unemployment benefits, one must assert that he is ready, willing and able to work but cannot find employment. To file for Social Security Disability benefits, one must show that his medical condition prevents him from working in his previous position or any other field and he is not currently seeking employment. Holding oneself out as being able to work is not the same as being able to work and perform substantial gainful activity. A desire to work is not proof of the ability to work, because many employers will not hire someone with a lot of medical problems, despite that person being willing to make a work attempt. Administrative law judges may not look favorably upon Social Security disability claims where the employee is receiving unemployment benefits, but they should consider a claimant’s application for and/or receipt of these benefits as only one adverse factor in the totality of circumstances. Therefore, the safer choice, if you have a financial choice, is to choose one or the other.
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