Understanding when assistance affects SSD eligibility

People who cannot work due to disabling medical conditions often face significant financial hardship. These individuals may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, but the wait for approval can be lengthy. Many people may wonder if collecting other assistance affects their eligibility for SSD benefits. As most disability lawyers in Chicago know, most public assistance does not affect SSD eligibility. However, seeking certain benefits may complicate the SSD claim process.

Potential complications

Requesting or collecting public assistance does not preclude a person from receiving SSD benefits. However, pursuing certain forms of assistance may reduce the likelihood of claim approval. The nature of some claims may undermine the apparent credibility of an SSD claim.

Collecting unemployment benefits can adversely affect an SSD claim. Official Social Security Administration policy holds that people who collect unemployment can also collect SSD. However, claims examiners or administrative law judges may consider the unemployment filing when evaluating whether a person can work. People requesting unemployment benefits allege that they could work if appropriate work were available. A claims examiner or judge may use this as grounds to deny an SSD claim.

Similarly, people who have filed Americans with Disability Act claims may technically receive SSD benefits. ADA claims and SSD claims use different criteria. ADA claims hold that a person could work with reasonable accommodations, while SSD claims do not factor in accommodations. Still, people seeking both benefits must reconcile any apparent contradictions between their claims. People who cannot do so may be denied SSD benefits.

Acceptable assistance

Fortunately, as any disability lawyers in Chicago can confirm, most other forms of assistance do not affect SSD eligibility. This is because SSD benefits are not awarded based on financial need. People cannot receive SSD benefits if they engage in work with monthly income over a set threshold. However, the SSA does not create similar restrictions on incoming public assistance. The following forms of assistance have no impact on a person’s eligibility for SSD benefits:

  • Medicaid
  • Food stamps
  • Housing vouchers
  • TANF benefits
  • State welfare

People who collect Supplemental Security Income benefits may also be able to collect SSD benefits. However, the financial requirements for both programs are distinct. SSI is only available to people with severely limited assets and income. SSD is awarded to people with adequate earnings records and monthly wages below a prescribed threshold.

Financially surviving the wait for SSD claim approval while maintaining eligibility for benefits can be challenging. People with concerns about collecting public benefits or assistance should consider speaking with disability lawyers in Chicago. A lawyer may be able to explain how collecting public assistance or other benefits could affect SSD eligibility.