November 2011 Archives

THE IMPACT OF EMPLOYMENT ON SSA DISABILITY CLAIMS

November 12, 2011

A claim for Social Security Disability benefits is a claim for benefits because the applicant is unable to work. The claimant is literally telling the Social Security Administration [SSA] that because of medical impairments [mental or physical] the person cannot work any job that exists in the United States and expects to be unable to work for at least 12 continuous months. As a result, any excess level of earned income that a claimant receives after their AOD, may lead a Social Security case examiner or adjudicator to determine that they are not disabled. In short, it is highly unlikely that an applicant is unable work under normal conditions and continues to acquire a large sum of income.

The types of "income" that may show Social Security that you have the ability to work include wages from temporary or part time jobs, and self employment income [see our blog entry regarding unemployment benefits as another type of income affecting disability claims]. For further details please visit the official website of the Social Security Administration in regards to the relationship between work activity and benefits.
Working even part time or temporarily can be used as proof that you have the ability to continue to work and/or that you have the ability work fulltime. Contrary to what a lot of people believe it is not staying under a certain maximum income that solely determines their eligibility. The question for Social Security is always the claimant's ability to work. If a claimant is able to work, that person should work. Working is emotionally and usually financially better than drawing disability pay. Social Security is not designed to discouraged claimants from working but rather intended to pay only those persons who are unable to work.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AND SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY CLAIMS

November 3, 2011

A Social Security Disability claim is an application for assistance because the applicant has lost the ability to work. The applicant is implicitly telling the Social Security Adminstration that due to medical conditions (physical or mental) "I am unable to work ANY job that exists within the United States, and I expect my conditions
to limit me for at least 12 continuous months." (Note: the applicant cannot perform the duties of any job, not just your previous occupation) The former statement is a bold declaration; therefore, any relative action taken after an applicant's alleged onset disability date or AOD, may potentially affect the outcome of their claim. For example, let's take a look at how an applicant's collection of unemployment benefits after their AOD can damage their claim.

Unemployment benefits can negatively affect your claim for disability benefits because receipt of these benefits usually require the applicant to declare that he or she is ready, willing and able to work. If you are telling one agency that you are able to work to get unemployment benefits, you are filing a contradictory claim for Social Security disability benefits because you are alleging that you are unable to work because of a disability. Social Security can use the receipt of unemployment benefits as one of the factors they consider in analyzing your claim for disability benefits.

Furthermore, the Employment Commission or unemployment agency could later find that you must repay any unemployment benefits that you received if your Social Security claim is awarded within the same time period you received unemployment benefits. Therefore, it is highly important that an applicant's AOD, does not contradict itself in regards to unemployment (ability to work) and disability insurance benefits (inability to work).