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SSDI Recipients Denied Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

During the coronavirus pandemic, over 44.2 million Americans have filed for unemployment. This unemployment is widespread across every state in the United States; every single industry has been affected by COVID-19, which has killed hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide.

The CARES Act assists those who have hit economic hardship due to the pandemic, with tiered payment amounts differing according to reported income levels. ***The CARES Act helps those who have been economically impacted by coronavirus, who are not eligible for, or not currently receiving, other benefits from the state. More information about eligibility and payment amounts is available on the treasury website. 

What About SSDI Recipients?

SSDI, which is an acronym for Social Security Disability Insurance, is a benefit that is paid to those who are unable to work due to severe disability or prolonged illness. It is only available to those who have previously worked and paid social security but have since been made unable to  earn enough money to support themselves due to their conditions. SSDI is a necessary form of income to many citizens.

In 2013, Republican legislature in Wisconsin determined that those who receive SSDI to supplement their income were no longer able to also receive unemployment insurance. Additionally, the CARES Act did not contain direct wording specifying whether SSDI recipients would also receive a stimulus payment.

Due to these factors, during the coronavirus pandemic, those who receive SSDI were denied access to the emergency funding they needed to support themselves through the pandemic period. Of course, this has had a devastating effect on the quality of life of those who have become unemployed due to COVID-19 who also rely on SSDI benefits to supplement additional income.

Why Wisconsin?

Most states take applications case-by-case, rather than implementing blanket bans on individuals accessing both types of benefits at once. Wisconsin has some laws which are stricter than other states’ when it comes to state funding.

State officials have been heavily criticized over this denial of help to thousands of Wisconsin residents during this unprecedented period. Due to the 2013 law that was passed, the state has been forced to deny up to 175,000 Wisconsin residents the emergency funding they applied for. 

What Can I Do About This?

Those who are denied funding at this time are eligible to appeal these denials. If you are one of these people, you can attend a hearing, many of which are currently being conducted via Zoom or another telephone conference platform due to pandemic-induced court closures. It is recommended that you hire a Social Security disability insurance lawyer to represent you and your interests at the hearing.

Other witnesses, such as doctors, can be called to testify about the necessity of these funds and the eligibility of those receiving SSDI benefits. Being well-represented is important in these cases, as it is not always easy to get across the severity of your situation over video conferencing. Being assisted by a legal professional who specializes in social security hearings will give you stability and peace of mind when proceeding with an SSDI hearing.

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