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Does getting laid off affect my eligibility?

To be approved for disability benefits, you must meet the qualifications for being fully disabled. No partial disability benefits are available for those who have disabilities. If you are physically well enough to work to earn substantial gainful income, you are not going to be approved for disability benefits.

The aspect of working does play an important role in the Social Security Disability process, from determining which kind of benefits for which you are eligible, such as Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance, to determining that you are not eligible for any kind of disability benefits at all.

Social Security Disability Insurance

The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. In order for you to qualify to receive monthly SSDI benefits, you must have worked enough to earn sufficient credits and have paid in enough taxes to the SSA.

Usually, this means you must have worked the equivalent of five years full-time out of the last 10 years. Certain adjustments may be involved depending upon the age of the disabled worker. If you haven’t earned enough credits to qualify for SSDI, you might be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a needs-based disability program that has financial restrictions regarding income and resources.

Working While Disabled

If you are in the process of applying for disability benefits, your entire claim is focused on how your medical condition makes working impossible for you. Therefore, if you are working full-time or even enough part-time hours to exceed the financial limits that deem you as earning a substantial income, your claim will be denied.

Your evidence and documentation must be supportive of how your condition limits your activities. To be deemed disabled, you can’t be able to do, or be actively doing, substantial gainful activity. While you may not have to completely stop working to be approved, you cannot earn more than $1,130 per month from work and still be eligible for benefits. If you are legally blind, those income limits are higher.

Unemployment Benefits When Applying for Disability Benefits?

While you can work a few hours as long as you don’t exceed the financial limits that establish substantial gainful income, you may find yourself in a bind if you are laid off from a job while you are seeking Social Security disability benefits. If you apply for unemployment benefits, you have to actively seek employment.

To seek employment, you are required to declare that you are able and willing to work. If you are able and willing to work, you are not considered disabled. So, if you have been laid off from work and you are dealing with a disability claim, you cannot file for unemployment benefits.

Consult with an Attorney or Advocate

If you are confused about what to do if you are in the middle of a disability claim and you have recently been laid off from your job, you should consult with an advocate or an attorney. They are experienced in dealing with such cases and can tell you what approach is the best for your case so you don’t ruin your odds of being approved.