We do not request reimbursement of costs
(such as repayment for obtaining medical records)
from veterans nor from people who suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Can You Apply for Disability Benefits After Being Laid Off?

If you’ve lost you job, you may be wondering whether you can still apply for disability benefits after being laid off. The answer to this question can be complicated. If you have been laid off and are on employment, you are expected to acquire a job when you can.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to be unable to work almost any job to be eligible for disability benefits.

However, if you still meet all of the disability requirements of the SSA, you can still apply for disability benefits.

Disability Benefits After Being Laid Off

Eligibility for Disability Benefits After Layoff

The eligibility requirements for claiming disability benefits after being laid off are essentially the same as if you were just applying for disability benefits any other time. To be eligible for social security disability benefits, you must have a condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, longer than a year or a condition that is expected to result in death and you cannot do the work you were previously engaged in because of this condition, and it must prevent you from adjusting to other work. Proving your disability can be complex and can require substantial documentation.

These are not the only requirements for being eligible for disability. You must also meet certain work requirements and these requirements may differ from benefits for unemployed people. Generally, you will need 40 work credits with 20 earned in the past 10 years. A person can earn a maximum of 4 work credits for every year worked and a work credit is based on the amount of social security taxes you have paid in.

Understanding if you meet the eligibility requirements for both your condition and the work requirements so you might want to enlist help. A qualified Hawaii disability lawyer will be able to help you understand the eligibility requirements and answer any questions you may have.

The Application Process for Laid-Off Workers

The application process for laid-off workers will be the same as anyone else applying for disability benefits.  You can fill out your application online or in person at a local SSA office. The application will require you to provide detailed information about your medical condition you are claiming disability for, work history and any other relevant information. 

After you apply for disability benefits, the SSA will review your application to determine if you meet the eligibility requirements. You will be required to submit medical evidence and the SSA may request that you undergo a consultative examination by a doctor of the SSA’s choosing if they need more information. The SSA will then make a determination based on your application if you are eligible and, if approved, you will start receiving benefits.

If your application is denied, you will have an opportunity to appeal. First, you can file a request for reconsideration where a different SSA employee will review your application and make their own determination. Around 10-15% of people have their denial overturned during this stage.  If your application is still denied, you have the opportunity to appeal to an administrative law judge. This involves a hearing where you will put on evidence as to why your application denial was improper. 

Consultation with an Attorney for Disability Benefits After Being Laid Off

If you are considering applying for disability benefits after being laid-off, acquiring a disability attorney can be very beneficial. Claiming Social Security disability benefits is different from claiming benefits for unemployment and a disability lawyer will be able to guide you through the process. During a consultation with a disability attorney, you can speak to the attorney about your condition and situation, and they will evaluate your claim and let you know if you are eligible for social security disability benefits if you have been laid-off. 

If so, you and your lawyer will make a plan for applying for disability benefits. The lawyer will explain the application process to you, let you know what medical evidence and other documentation will be needed for your application, and help you fill out and submit your application. And if your application is denied, your attorney will be there to tell you your options and guide you through the appeals process.


How long does the application process take?

The application process will depend on how long it takes you to fill out the application and gather your required medical evidence and any other documentation. Once submitted to the SSA, it usually takes around three to five months for a decision to be rendered. If your application is denied and you choose to appeal, a request for reconsideration can take a few months to get a decision and it can take a few months to a year to get a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Can I work part-time while receiving disability benefits?

Yes, you can work part-time while receiving disability benefits if you do not meet the SSA’s definition of not working in gainful employment. Generally, if you make more than $1,470.00 per month this is considered substantial gainful activity, and you will be ineligible for disability benefits. The SSA has work incentive programs that allow a person to test their ability to return to work. The SSA even offers a program called Ticket to Work that includes free employment services.

What should I do if my disability worsens after being laid off?

If your disability worsens after you are laid off, you may be eligible for social security disability benefits that you weren’t eligible for before. You should read the eligibility requirements and, if you think you are eligible, apply for disability benefits. A qualified disability attorney can help you understand the eligibility requirements and help determine if you are eligible. If so, they can help you through the application process, helping you complete the application, gather essential medical evidence, and work through any appeals, if applicable.

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