Can Workers Laid Off due to COVID-19 File for Social Security Disability?
Millions of workers have been laid off, put on leave, furloughed, or fired due to the coronavirus pandemic. And, even with expected re-hirings in the coming months, it will still be a challenging labor market.
As a result, people who are “marginally” qualified – because of lack of skills or due to physical or mental impairment – may find that they now can’t get hired back because the job market is much more competitive.
Some of these laid-off workers may need to turn to Social Security Disability benefits to survive, after their unemployment benefits run out over the next few months. But, can a laid off worker file for Social Security Disability? The answer, according to our experienced Long Beach Social Security Attorneys, is complicated.
Collecting Social Security Disability After Unemployment Benefits Run Out
Laid off or terminated workers who collect unemployment are supposed to be ready and available to go back to work. But for a person to qualify for SSI or Social Security disability, the applicant must be unable to perform any job. And, two-thirds (2 out of three) of all initial disability applications are denied – even under the best of times.
So, laid-off employee to being approved for SSD or SSI is difficult at best. However, laid off workers who are older are somewhat more likely to qualify.
Can Workers Collecting Unemployment Also Be Disabled?
Many unskilled worker work physically challenging jobs – and they can often ignore their illnesses and continue to work simply because they need the money – no matter how sick they are. These dedicated employees may have been pushing through pain, fatigue and other symptoms for months or years, just to collect a paycheck and provide for their family.
Many of these still-working sick or disabled employees will seek re-employment after a lay-off. But, in such a tight job market, the competition for jobs will be fierce. So older workers, employees needing accommodation, and weaker, slower or “less able” workers now can no longer find work.
And, although these people have serious medical conditions, the Social Security Administration is likely to think there is some work that they can do. And so, their application for Social Security Disability is denied.
These applicants also often have factors decrease their chances of approval for Social Security Disability benefits: illnesses that are difficult to prove (like back pain), or poor access to health care that results in a lack of medical documentation of their condition. It’s the ultimate “Catch 22”.
Who Can Get Social Security Disability Benefits After a Lay Off
In order to have a good chance of getting approved for Social Security Disability after a lay-off or job loss, the workers still need to have evidence of severe medical conditions. This should include objective testing like x-rays or CT scans, and treating doctors who can provide statements about the patients’ work limitations.
Older workers, particularly laid-off or let-go employees over age 55, have a better than average chance of getting Social Security disability benefits after losing their job. Many in this age group are not considered essential workers and are unable to work from home. Additionally, the Social Security Administration seems to recognize that medical conditions get worse with age and are therefore somewhat more likely to recognize when older applicants are too disabled to work.
Attorneys Help Collect Social Security Disability After a Lay Off
In cases where a furloughed worker files a Social Security Disability application shortly after being laid off, it is essential to hire an experienced Social Security disability attorney to handle the claim. Remember, in the eyes of the Social Security Administration you are already starting out at a disadvantage, with the presumption that you are able to work because you already were working.
With tens of thousands of employees out of work due to COVID-19, the Social Security Administration will be trying to screen out as many claimants as they can early in the process. Our caring and experienced Social Security Disability attorney understand the evidence – and can obtain the documentation – that gives you the best chance of having Social Security approve your claim.
If you were laid off sue to COVID-19, and now find yourself too ill or disabled to find work, call our Social Security Disability attorneys today for a case evaluation. We will help you determine if filing for Social Security Disability benefits may be the lifeline you need to support yourself and your family.