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Unemployment Insurance and Social Security Disability Benefits

Aug 30, 2013 | Social Security Disability

By Peter Casciano, Esq. at

A question that commonly comes up in my practice is whether a client can apply for and receive unemployment and Social Security Disability benefits simultaneously. Currently, the rules and regulations allow for the dual receipt of both payments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes the official position that one need not choose between applying for unemployment and applying for Social Security Disability.

Unemployment insurance is set up to compensate previously working individuals who lost their jobs and are currently looking for future employment. On its face, it appears that the receipt of unemployment benefits is contradictory to a claimant’s application for disability benefits on the basis that they are disabled. However, that is not necessarily the case and a more in-depth look at Social Security’s definition of disability reveals that the receipt of both benefits is allowed. Dual receipt depends largely on:

  • The potential future jobs the individual is considering
  • Their specific medical condition
  • The age of the individual
  • And other factors

In other words, the receipt of unemployment doesn’t necessarily mean one is capable of substantial gainful employment.

Social Security & Unemployment

Social Security Disability claimants must tread very lightly when it comes to this issue because the current state of the law requires that the SSA adjudicators consider the receipt of unemployment benefits as a factor regarding whether a claimant can work. Only in certain situations would I recommend that claimants apply for unemployment benefits while receiving Social Security benefits, even though it is not technically prohibited.

Furthermore, the receipt of social security benefits may reduce the amount of unemployment benefits, depending on which state is paying unemployment. Interestingly, the current rules do not reduce the amount of social security disability that is paid if unemployment is also paid, but there is a bill currently referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance that would change this result if it became law. It would reduce the amount of Social Security Disability benefits by whatever was received in unemployment, regardless of which state is paying the unemployment.

Applying for Unemployment or Disability Benefits in Maryland & Nationally

Need help applying for Social Security Disability benefits in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, or West Virginia? The experienced attorneys at Andalman & Flynn will fight to help you obtain the disability benefits you’re entitled to. Schedule a consultation today!

Peter Casciano