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07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C. – 7.40

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C.

Digest No. 7.40

Section 421.28

Cite as: Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C., unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued November 21, 2011 (Docket No.: B 2010-28689-RMI-220443W).

Court: MCAC

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Ginay Y. Josey Kyles

Employer: One Dentures, P.C.

Date of decision: November 21, 2011

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HOLDING: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission held that the mere fact that the claimant had an underlying medical condition, COPD, did not make her unable or unavilable to work where the evidence showed that she was laid-off due to lack of work and not her inability to work. However, the claimant was no longer able and available to work once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

FACTS: The ALJ found the Claimant ineligible for benefits beginning February 4, 2010, based on the record that established the Claimant experienced complications with Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD). However, the Commission noted that the facts provided that the claimant was seeking work, had transportation, had no care-giving duties, and had had COPD for years. Once claimant filed for Social Security disability benefits, however, the Commission deemed her ineligible for benefits due to lack of ability and availability to work.

DECISION: The Commission modified the ALJ order and found Claimant ineligible for benefits only once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

RATIONALE: The ALJ’s erred in finding that Claimant was not able and available to perform suitable full-time work of a character which the Claimant was qualified to perform by past experience or training under Section 421.28(1)(c) based soloely on the record of Claimant’s medical condition. The Claimant was laid off due to lack of work—not due to a medical condition. The record offered no basis for the ALJ to find ineligibility as of February 4, 2010. The record, however, did offer such basis as of February 23, 2010, when the claimant applied for Social Security disability benefits.

Furthermore, it was beyond the authority of the ALJ to decide eligibility prospectively, as eligibility questions, like availability and seeking work, must be considered on a week-by-week basis. Therefore, the ALJ could find only that the claimant was ineligible for benefits beginning the week of the administrative hearing, which was held on February 9, 2011.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

Categories
07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC – 7.39

Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC

Digest no. 7.39

Section 28(1)(c)

Cite as: Ross v. Acrisure P1, LLC, Unpublished Opinion of the Court of Appeals of Michigan, Issued August 14, 2014 (Docket no. 315347).

Appeal Pending: No
Claimant: Michael T. Ross (Appellee)
Employer: Hill’s Crate Mill (Appellants: UIA)
Docket no. 315347
Date of decision: Aug. 14, 2014

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Holding: Claimant’s receipt of social security benefits did not preclude him from asserting that he was willing and able to work for purposes of receiving unemployment benefits.

Facts: Claimant’s employer closed in 2009. In December 2009, claimant applied to the Agency for unemployment benefits, and he began to receive those benefits. Although initially claimant’s application for SSDI benefits was denied, claimant successfully appealed that decision on September 21, 2011. On November 29, 2011, claimant informed the Agency that the SSA determined that he was disabled. As a result, on December 20, 2011, the Agency issued a determination informing claimant that he was not eligible for unemployment given his receipt of SSDI benefits.  In February 2012, an administrative law judge upheld the Agency’s denial of benefits and demand for repayment as well as the imposition of penalties. The MCAC affirmed. The circuit court overruled, stating it was “unable to find merit in the [MCAC’s] finding that the claimant’s application for social security disability was inconsistent with his testimony that he was ready and able to work in connection with his application for unemployment benefits.”

Decision: The Agency issued a determination informing claimant that he was not eligible for unemployment given his receipt of SSDI benefits. The MCAC affirmed. The circuit court reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court.

Rationale: There are two broad considerations relevant to determining whether judicial estoppel should prevent an individual from bringing claims under two statutory schemes when there is a potential that the claims involved may be inconsistent. First, courts consider whether there is an inherent conflict between the statutory schemes, such that a negative presumption should apply against the possibility of an individual pursuing both types of claims. See Cleveland v Policy Management Systems Corp, 526 U.S. 795, 802-803 (1999) (finding no inherent conflict between receipt of SSDI benefits and a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and rejecting application of a negative presumption). Second, courts consider whether a claimant’s purely factual assertions in the respective contexts genuinely conflict with one another, and whether an individual can explain any apparent contradiction.

There is not an inherent conflict between the statutory schemes such that a finding of disability for purposes of SSDI necessarily precludes the possibility of also receiving unemployment.  Nothing in claimant’s specific factual assertions in each arena which can be considered wholly inconsistent.

Digest author: James C. Robinson (Michigan Law ’16)
Digest updated: 3/15