LIRC recently issues a lengthly and well-reasoned decision regarding what recent changes to unemployment law in regards to receipt of SSDI benefits means. Here is what I wrote to a clinic client about that decision:
You came to the clinic in April and May of this year with numerous questions about the impact of new unemployment law provisions on people receiving social security disability benefits. When last we spoke, you were planning on appealing on your own an administrative law judge decision that denied you all unemployment benefits because you were receiving social security disability income.
The Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC or Commission) has recently issued the enclosed decision, Kluczynski, UI Hearing No. 1400214AP (30 May 2014), that answers many of those questions. The Commission held in Kluczynski that receipt of social security disability benefits only affects unemployment benefits on the week when both unemployment and disability benefits are received. In other weeks where unemployment benefits can be received and for which no disability benefits are paid, claimants are still eligible for their unemployment benefits.
The Commission also goes into great detail in Kluczynski about the contention of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD or Department) that people claiming both disability and unemployment benefits are double-dipping. As the Commission concludes, that position is NOT supported by either social security disability law or unemployment law and wrongly presumes that individuals eligible for each are mutually exclusive to the other. It is an extremely well-argued decision, and I suspect that this decision will withstand judicial scrutiny if the Department should appeal.
Unfortunately, LIRC’s unemployment decision database is temporarily down. I’ll link to Kluczynski when the cite is fully operational again.
UPDATE: Here is the link to Kluczynski.
Not surprisingly, DWD has appealed all of the SSDI decisions LIRC has recently issued on this matter, including Kluczynski. What is strange is that all these appeals appear to be in Kenosha County, a county where most or all of the claimants at issue in these cases do NOT reside.
At the unemployment clinic I help manage, there has been a marked drop in attendance the past few months. Supervising attorneys and law students alike have been trying to figure out what is going on.
Well the clinic finally got an answer. Essentially, the Department of Workforce Development stopped sending to claimants in Dane County the one-page notices about the unemployment clinic that they previously received with their notification of appeal. Now, all that claimants receive is a flier telling them to go to a website for information about unemployment issues (the on-line only handbook was previously noted here). As the post explains, claimants have to click on several links that are in no way obvious to find a new handout describing the free legal assistance in unemployment cases available from the clinic.