I was laid off 9/11 and was collecting unemployment. Previously, I had been on disability due to mental health issues but had gone back to work for 2 years but was laid off. About 2 months ago I made an inquiry to disability about what the procedure would be if I was unable to return to work as my issues were once again getting exacerbated. They told me I would need to file an Expedited Reinstatement rather than having to reapply since I was still in the 36 month time limit. The expedited reinstatement would mean that I would fill out a separate application and would need collect my medical records again but a quicker determination would be made. The only paperwork I filled out to date was a change of work notification. In the change of work notification it asked me why I was no longer working. I indicated that I was laid off. When I had an interview at the disability office to ask this inquiry, I told the women that i was on unemployment. She indicated that Disability didn't care about that. Anyway, a week ago, I went into my bank account online and noticed that SSDI had deposited 10 months of back-pay disability checks into my account. Needless to say I was stunned but immediately stopped collecting unemployment. I was going to file the expedited reinstatement as I don't feel that I am in a position to go back to work but I didn't expect that it would happen this fast. Will this be considered fraud on the part of unemployment? As soon as I saw the deposit, I immediately stopped collecting unemployment?
State/Country relating to question: Massachusetts
Hello and welcome,Did you make false statements to the unemployment commission, contrary to statements you were making to the SSA?
No, I was laid off and it was verified. I told SSA that I stopped working because I was laid off. The work change report asked me when I stopped working and I listed 9/11. It asked me why. I said I was laid off. That was it. The next thing I know I have 10 months of disability checks in my account.
With SSA I was just making an inquiry about what I needed to do if I was unable to go back to work. I didn't make any statements saying I stopped working because I was disabled. On the contrary, I told them I was trying to hold out and not file the expedited reinstated as long as possible because I want to work. I thought I was supposed to collect all my medical records and file all this paper work to show I can't work now, not past tense.
I see.There would not typically be grounds to pursue a fraud claim against an applicant for unemployment benefits, where no false statements were made in obtaining benefits.The commission will still seek the return of benefits received in all likelihood, for the period the recipient also received disability benefits, since one cannot typically receive both, but there would not be a fraud claim against the recipient in this case normally.The recipient must report the income to the commission promptly though, as required by state regulations.
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Do I report to the commission now or when I file taxes. Is there a way to set up a structured payment? I made more money on unemployment and don't have that kind of money to pay back? should I get an attorney to try and handle this for me?
Hello again, Susan.Yes, if you cannot pay back the benefits in a lump sum, then it would normally be best to retain a local attorney who handles unemployment cases to negotiate a repayment schedule for you. It is important to report the income from disability promptly, and not wait for tax time, so the attorney could inform them for you when attempting to negotiate a repayment schedule.If you do not follow-up on this, the commission is likely to begin attaching property you own to satisfy the debt once they discover the issue (and they are likely to discover it) and fraud charges could be possible.The state and local bar associations should be able to provide attorney referrals for you.
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wouldn't it be easier if I gave back the disability and just had them start me now and not collect retroactive benefits? That way I wouldn't have to repay unemployment and that is what I was wanting to begin with
If you contacted the SSA and informed them that you did not become disabled until a later date, that would likely result in them seeking repayment of the funds for that period, if you wish to pursue that route. I cannot say whether it may complicate your disability claim or not though. You should speak with the SSA about that.
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