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In order to receive North Carolina Social Security disability benefits, you must have a severe impairment that prevents you from working. In order to receive North Carolina unemployment benefits, however, you must be ready, willing and able to work. This apparent conflict makes it difficult, though not impossible, to receive benefits from both programs.
The outcome in your case may depend on the perspective of the administrative law judge presiding over your North Carolina disability benefits hearing. Some judges regard the receipt of both disability benefits and unemployment compensation as double-dipping or as proof that you are, in fact, able to work. Many judges, however, recognize that your desire to work may be greater than your actual ability to work. You may be able to argue, for example, that even though you attempted to work during the time you were receiving unemployment benefits (which makes receipt of those benefits legitimate), in retrospect it appears that you would not have been able to sustain work (which provides the basis for your North Carolina disability claim).
In making a disability determination, one factor the administrative law judge may closely scrutinize is your “onset date” – that is, the date you became disabled. If the onset date alleged in your original application for North Carolina Social Security disability benefits is the same date you were laid off from work, this may also be the date you started receiving unemployment benefits; however, this date may not accurately reflect the facts of your situation. How was the alleged onset date determined? Was it your idea or did a North Carolina Social Security employee suggest using your last day of work? What were the circumstances of your layoff? What are your work limitations? A knowledgeable North Carolina disability lawyer will discuss all these issues with you and determine if a later onset date would be appropriate; if so, your lawyer can amend your North Carolina Social Security disability application to correct this error, which may resolve the apparent conflict between your request for North Carolina disability benefits and your receipt of unemployment benefits.