The Difference between Unemployment and Disability Benefits
It is important to understand the benefits that you are entitled to so that you seek the right kind of benefits. Most Americans do not know the difference between different benefit programs and end up applying for the wrong ones, only to be rejected by Social Security Administration (SSA). In most instances, individuals receive just one kind of benefits; however there are rare cases of exception whereby both types of benefits are rewarded.
Unemployment Benefits are intended for people who are able and willing to work but have lost their job for reasons out of their control. When an individual works, there is a payroll tax that he or she pays to the state that goes towards unemployment insurance (which is a federal program). Each state has different rules pertaining to unemployment insurance that apply to the individual working in that state. If you lose your job, you need to meet the following criteria to be eligible for unemployment benefits:
- US citizen or permanent resident
- Employed for a certain period of time
- Earning a certain amount of money
- Reason for leaving job should not be related to any kind of legal misconduct
- Available and willing to work
If you think you qualify for unemployment benefits, the next step is the application. Once you send in your application, the concerned state agency checks information with your last employer. If the application is approved the agency will determine what benefits you deserve depending on your salary in the last two quarters or six months. Moreover, the agency determines the time period in which you will receive checks from the state, during which you will be expected to actively look for work opportunities.
Disability benefits are intended for individuals who, due to a physical or mental impairment, cannot take part in any gainful activity, part time or full time. Here are some of the most important factors SSA takes into consideration when looking at an application
- Disability – The most basic definition of disability by the SSA states that for someone to be considered disabled they have to have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months and causes them to be unable to participate in any kind of job (including their previous one). The SSA has a list of impairments it considers to be extremely limiting; if your disability is on that list your chances of qualifying are high.
- Earning requirements – the SSA requires you to be unemployed and to have worked for a certain period of time under Social Security, before your disability began, to be eligible.
- Prove that you cannot work after disability – Disability Determination Services decides, after consulting their own medical experts and your health practitioners, whether your condition limits you from performing your last job and any other job in the market.
For both kinds of benefits, an individual needs to file a claim/application to the respectable agencies in charge. In most cases, it is not possible to get both benefits as under an unemployment benefits application you claim that you are able and willing to work, however, in a disability application you claim to be unable to perform any kind of work. In fact, if you are receiving disability benefits and then apply for unemployment benefits, the agencies may use this as evidence to show that you think you can work.
Filing the claim effectively requires a lot of paperwork and documentation that can be very time consuming. Denial rates are quite high and agencies can take long to process each case if there is information missing. Due to the complexity of the criteria and application process, it is highly recommended that applicants seek legal representation from an experienced social security attorney, who has in depth knowledge about both kinds of benefits in the state of Oklahoma. AMA Law has a competent and experienced team of benefits attorneys who can look at your unique circumstances and needs to create and present a strong application to the agencies. Our attorneys will help you through the paperwork and hearings for physical and mental impairments, unemployment benefits and Supplemental Security Income claims. To get an AMA Law benefits attorney to look at your case contact us today.