It is completely understandable for someone to file a disability claim because a mental or physical disability prevents them from working.

It also is not unreasonable to file a claim for unemployment benefits after being laid off. Yet people sometimes wonder, Can you apply for disability while on unemployment benefits?

The simple answer is that you technically can file for both. However, it is rarely a good idea and often creates more problems than solutions.

If you are asking, Can you get unemployment and disability at the same time? then you should reach out to a qualified and experienced disability lawyer for further guidance right away. 

Can You Draw Unemployment If You Have Filed for Disability?

Again, there’s no law that prohibits you from collecting both unemployment and disability benefits. Yet there are practical complications in attempting to collect both at the same time.

To understand why, it’s important to understand what you are claiming when receiving unemployment benefits and disability benefits.

Requirements to Obtain Unemployment Benefits

Can I File a Disability Claim While Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits help provide an individual with temporary income after they’ve lost their job. To collect unemployment, you must have lost your job through no fault of your own.

Each state has its own unemployment benefits program with unique requirements and payment plans.

That said, a nearly universal requirement to receive unemployment benefits is that the person receiving benefits has to be ready, willing, and able to work. 

Requirements to Receive Disability Payments

Individuals receiving unemployment benefits can theoretically apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

Many states also feature SSDI programs. To apply for any of these programs, an individual generally must show that they have medical conditions that prevent them from working.

This includes information about their medical condition or disability that prevents them from doing work-related activities like walking, sitting, or remembering instructions.

To evaluate the extent of the individual’s disability, the SSA will evaluate whether (and how much) you’re currently working. It will also evaluate whether you can still do the work at your previous job.

Therefore, receiving disability payments means you need to claim that you can’t work a job. 

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So Can You Collect Unemployment and Disability Benefits?

At this point, you can probably see where collecting unemployment benefits and disability payments at the same time becomes tricky.

On one hand, you are claiming that you are ready, willing, and able to work when you collect unemployment benefits.

On the other hand, you are asking for disability payments because you are unable to work due to a medical condition.

Many administrative law judges (ALJs) for the SSA are suspicious of those who try to obtain unemployment and disability benefits simultaneously.

That said, there could occasionally be situations where an individual can legitimately claim both benefit types.

Can a Disability Attorney Help Me Decide Whether to Apply for Unemployment Benefits and Disability Benefits?

Absolutely. An experienced disability lawyer will be able to assess your claim and explain your potential options. They can also explain the benefits and drawbacks for each choice.

Because they are experienced with working with ALJs and other government officials, an attorney can provide you sound advice on how to move forward. 

Can You Apply For Disability While On Unemployment with a Skilled Attorney Representing You?

The simple truth is that you need the advice of a knowledgeable disability lawyer to help you if you are considering applying for disability while on unemployment.

Moreover, it’s critical that you pick the right attorney. You need to look for an attorney with a practice focused on disability-related legal issues.

It’s also important for them to have many years of legal experience and a great reputation. 

Cottrell Law Office is not just any law firm. We are an award-winning firm with over 32 years of experience aiding injured and disabled people.

In addition, we have an outstanding track record of providing great client service, as our customer testimonials show.

Finally, our outstanding results show just how good we are at helping our clients win big and obtain the compensation they deserve.

Let us help you. Give us a call today at 800-364-8305 or contact us online to get started. 

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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