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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: California Employment Law
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I live in California and have been receiving UI. I found out

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I live in California and have been receiving UI. I found out I have a serious ailment and requires treatment. My Veterans Admin doctor filled out the form and I mailed it. The claim was for a lot of money but was disallowed because I am recieving UI benefits. EDD wants to call me now and I am scared that I will lose BOTH! Anything you could tell me would be helpful. I have a good work history and am frusterated and feel victomized because I feel 'trapped' by a system designed to deny me benefits.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am so sorry to hear that you've been caught between this rock and a hard place, so to speak.

The reason why the EDD wants to speak to you is because one of the requirements for receiving unemployment benefits is that the claimant be "able and available" to immediately accept new work. Every week that you re-certify your claim, you are recertifying under penalty of perjury that you are free of any health problems that would prevent you from working.

Of course, an application for disability benefits runs directly contrary to the "able and available" requirement for unemployment benefits. Since you certified that you were eligible for both at the same time, this has naturally raised a red flag with the EDD.

The EDD now wants to talk to you to get to be the bottom of this. They want to know if you are in fact able to work, or if you want to proceed with your disability claim. So, you will want to have a very clear answer for them one way or the other. If your answer is that you are unable to work and want to proceed with your disability claim, you must explain that you misunderstood the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits. This, of course, is not a good position to put yourself in, since a failure to understand the legal eligibility requirements for benefits is typically no excuse, and if you have already received benefits since you submitted your disability claim, you may be forced to pay those back with a penalty.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes to you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The thing is I have been looking for work all along. I have not yet received treatments due to complications and have had MRI, Biopsy, and CAT scans. The VA has been wonderful to me. I have applied to dozens of companies and have records: ViaSat, Nike, LPL Financial (interviewed there but did not get job), Res Med, Volt. Could I tell EDD that my doctor and I talked and I decided to bite the bullet and continue to look for work while recieving treatment?

Thank you very much for your reply. Can you tell me a little bit more about the VA benefits that you are applying for? Are they "disability" benefits in the sense that you must demonstrate an inability to work in order to receive them? I think this would help me better understand whether in fact you have represented what the agencies will perceive as two contradictory things.

Thanks so much.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am only applying for CA short term disability and told my VA doc I would not apply for VA disability. They are helping me because I am honorably discharged vet who is out of work right now. They charge me a nominal fee for services and perscriptions. It is debateable if my medical is due to my service (Navy). So the VA is only my medical source and I am so thankful. But I need to know how to deal with EDD because they scare me and I can't see them on my 'radar'. Thank you for helping me.

I see.

If you are applying for SDI, one of the requirements is that you are unable to do your customary work for at least 8 consecutive days. See here for all the eligiblity requirements:

SDI is inherently inconsistent with unemployment benefits because one requires certifying that you can't work and the other requires certifying that you can. It seems like you are the victim of a misunderstanding here, and perhaps should not have been applying for SDI--at least not yet.

The best approach is to be forthcoming and honest with the EDD and explain that you misunderstood the requirements for SDI and that you have actively been seeking work and are, at least at the present, able to accept work. If you can supply proof of recent interviews or applications that you have submitted, that may be helpful as well, as it demonstrates your good faith.

You are certainly on the EDD's radar at this point, but that doesn't mean you are in trouble. If you can convince them that you misunderstood the requirements for SDI but are presently able and available to work and have been applying for jobs, your claim for SDI will certainly be denied but your UI benefits will likely remain instated. Of course, no one can predict exactly what will happen in a given instance, but it is certainly clear to me that you were not attempting to "cheat" anyone here, and I imainge that will be clear to the EDD as well, once you get a chance to talk to them.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
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