Many people may confuse unemployment benefits with Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. Both are government programs in which benefits are paid to someone who is not currently working. Many people who are in a difficult situation financially and who may not be working may attempt to apply for both programs thinking that it cannot possibly hurt, given that both are different potential sources of income during a time when someone may really be struggling financially.
However, the only thing that Virginia state unemployment benefits and federal SSD benefit recipients have in common is that the recipients of benefits under each program are not working. The two are altogether completely different programs administered by different agencies (one state, the other federal) with completely different criteria required to qualify for and receive benefits. SSD requires a successful applicant to show that he or she suffers from a disability that prevents you from working that is expected to last at least 12 months or is expected to result in death, whereas qualifying for unemployment benefits under Virginia law requires the applicant to be currently unemployed but looking for work.
In addition, applying for unemployment benefits may serve as a red flag to the Social Security Administration (SSA) if you also simultaneously apply for state unemployment benefits, which could result in your application for SSD benefits being denied if you also applied for state unemployment benefits at the same time. At Kalfus & Nachman, our experienced Virginia disability attorneys regularly advise our clients that the two programs are, in essence, mutually exclusive because unemployment benefits are meant for those who are physically able to work and actively looking for work, whereas SSD benefits are meant for those who are unable to work due to a physical or mental disability.
Virginia State Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits in the Commonwealth of Virginia are offered through a state program that is intended to ensure that money is paid to people who are willing and able to work but unable to find a job. One of the requirements for unemployment benefits is often that you be actively looking for work. The rules governing unemployment in Virginia thus put the burden on someone receiving those benefits to demonstrate that he or she is actively looking for work, such as by showing that you have spent a certain amount of time in the past month looking for work.
On the other hand, one of the requirements of qualifying for SSD benefits is that you are unable to work because of a qualifying medical condition which is expected to last for a period of at least twelve months or result in death. Thus, if you apply for SSD benefits, you are telling the SSA that you cannot work as a result of your disability, whereas by applying for unemployment benefits, you are indicating you are able to work but just cannot find a job.
Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining if you qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation