On Sept. 7th, Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs, LLP, Axley Brynelson, LLP and myself filed a law suit in federal court to eliminate the SSDI eligibility ban that keeps disabled workers from receiving regular unemployment benefits. A press release explains:
The eligibility ban means that the plaintiffs in the class action and disabled workers like them are being treated differently from non-disabled workers in Wisconsin. Because of their disability, these SSDI recipients are presently ineligible for unemployment benefits. This different treatment because of their disability status is de jure discrimination against the disabled, in violation of federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability.
Specifically, the class action and the motion for a preliminary injunction asks the Court to stop the current enforcement of the law and instead permit otherwise eligible disabled workers to receive benefits. The lawsuit also asks the court to provide plaintiffs with the opportunity to apply for benefits at any point over the past six years during which they would have been eligible but for their receipt of SSDI benefits. Finally, some class members received benefits but were compelled by the state to repay those benefits, usually with a penalty, because they were receiving SSDI benefits. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for the benefits and penalties. This relief is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution.
SSDI recipients who may have questions about this case can call 608-841-2150.
A copy of the initial complaint is available, and media coverage is available at:
- CBS Channel 3000
- Fox 6
- Fox 6 podcast
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Wisconsin Examiner
- Wisconsin Public Radio
- Wisconsin Watch
Update (18 August 2022): SSDI recipients should now start or continue to file initial claims and weekly certifications for regular unemployment insurance. Details on what to say when filing those initial claims and weekly certifications are available at SSDI recipients should now apply for regular unemployment benefits.
If a staffer representative tells you it is pointless to file these claims because of the SSDI eligibility ban, insist that you want to file anyway. The only reason you should stop filing is if you do not have monetary eligibility.
When you are denied eligibility for regular unemployment benefits because of the SSDI eligibility ban, appeal, and then appeal again. Cite the brief available at SSDI recipients should now apply for regular unemployment benefits for why the SSDI eligibility ban is wrong. To cite the brief, mail in a copy of the brief to your unemployment hearing. If you cannot mail it in, insist on reading the brief out loud at your hearing until the judge relents and will look it up on the Internet and enter it as an exhibit.
As always, take notes of all your phone conversations with Department representatives.