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Roloff v. Commissioner of the Dep't of Employment and Economic Development

August 26, 2003

REED M. ROLOFF, RELATOR,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, RESPONDENT.



Department of Employment and Economic Development File No. 10616 02

Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Shumaker, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

An applicant for primary social security disability benefits is not eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: G. Barry Anderson, Judge

Affirmed

OPINION

Relator brings this certiorari appeal challenging the determination made by the Employment and Economic Development Commissioner's representative that relator was ineligible to receive unemployment benefits. Relator argues it was error for the representative to conclude that under Minn. Stat. § 268.085, subd. 4(c) (2002), an application for primary social security disability benefits bars receipt of Minnesota unemployment benefits.*fn1 We affirm the decision of the commissioner's representative.

FACTS

Prior to suffering a massive stroke in 1998, relator Reed M. Roloff lived in Florida and was employed as a biomedical engineer designing custom wheelchairs equipment. The stroke caused Roloff to experience short-term memory loss, kidney disease, vision problems, loss of strength on his left side, and allergy-related asthma. Such problems such as difficulty concentrating, lack of stamina and fatigue have made it difficult for Roloff to function in the workplace. And as a result of the stroke, Roloff is unable to lift more than 20 pounds. Due in part to the complications caused by the stroke, Roloff decided to move to Minnesota to live with his parents. Roloff began receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in August 1998. In June 1999, the SSA determined Roloff was no longer disabled and discontinued the benefits.

Roloff had considerable difficulty maintaining employment after losing the disability benefits. Between June 1999 and November 2001, Roloff had four jobs. In December 2001 Roloff began receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Roloff also sought help obtaining new employment from various social service agencies. Many of these providers suggested Roloff once again apply for social security disability benefits. Based on this advice, Roloff applied for disability benefits on March 22, 2002. The SSA denied Roloff's application in May 2002.

On May 23, 2002, Roloff was notified by the State of Minnesota that he was no longer eligible to receive unemployment compensation because he had applied for disability benefits. One week later, Roloff was informed that because he had received unemployment compensation while seeking disability benefits he had been "overpaid" and must reimburse the state for the unemployment compensation he received while seeking disability benefits from SSA.

Roloff decided to appeal both SSA's denial of his request for disability benefits and the states determination that he was ineligible for unemployment compensation and demand for reimbursement.*fn2 Roloff appealed the SSA decision on July 23, 2002, and on July 31 he was informed that the decision to deny him disability benefits had been affirmed. Roloff decided not to pursue his claim for disability benefits any further.

In August 2002, following a hearing on Roloff's appeal of the state's determination of ineligibility and its demand for repayment, an unemployment law judge found that because Roloff was seeking social security disability benefits he was ineligible to receive unemployment compensation between March 17, 2002, and August 3, 2002. The unemployment law judge also ordered Roloff to repay the money he received when ineligible.

The commissioner's representative upheld the ineligibility determination and ordered Roloff to reimburse the state $1,735 for unemployment compensation he received while ...


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