A class action challenging the SSDI eligibility ban in Wisconsin that prevents disabled workers from receiving regular unemployment benefits has been filed. Note: A history of the SSDI eligibility ban in Wisconsin is available here.
With the end of PUA benefits after the week ending 4 September 2021, regular unemployment benefits are again the only option available to disabled workers in Wisconsin. The Department had previously concluded that PUA benefits were available to SSDI recipients because of the SSDI eligibility ban for regular unemployment benefits.
SSDI recipients interested in the class action and eventually receiving regular unemployment benefits for job losses that are not their fault need to do two things.
- File an initial claim and then weekly certifications for regular unemployment benefits. Do not let Department staffers talk you out of filing these initial claims and weekly certifications. You will be denied, and you should appeal that denial. At your unemployment hearing submit a copy of this brief about why the SSDI eligibility ban discriminates against you because of your disability. Note: Prior to the hearing date, you will need to print and mail in to the hearing office a copy of this brief with your name, hearing number, and social security number on the first page.
- Do not fall victim to the Department’s mishandling of its own able and available requirements. If asked by a staffer in a phone call or by an administrative law judge during a hearing or on an initial claim or weekly certification about your ability to work more than 32 hours in a week or your availability for more than 32 hours of work in week, answer “yes” to both questions. As currently being asked, these questions CONFLICT with Wisconsin unemployment law and so are invalid questions.
Because of the pandemic, you may lack sufficient earnings during the last year to establish a benefit year. But, you should still file initial claims and weekly certifications. When the SSDI eligibility ban is overturned and you finally can establish a benefit year, you will then be owed unemployment benefits for the weekly certifications now being denied by the Department. So, file away.