Social Security Disability Benefits and Unemployment BenefitsPosted January 18, 2019 by Premier Disability Services, LLC®
Many people wonder if they can collect unemployment benefits while applying for Social Security Disability. After all, it can take months or even years for the Social Security Administration to approve a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
Usually, Social Security Disability and unemployment benefits are mutually exclusive because they serve different populations. Unemployment benefits are paid to people who are “willing and able” to work but are simply unable to find a job. On the other hand, Social Security Disability benefits are for people who are unable to work. Claiming both disability and unemployment benefits at the same time is unusual, but it is possible in some cases.
If you feel that you may be able to work or you may be able to hold down a part-time job that generates less than $1,000 per month in income, you may want to apply for both unemployment and Social Security Disability benefits. In doing so, you are not stating that you are able to hold down a full-time job, but you are also not stating that you are unwilling to seek employment. You are merely stating that your disability may prevent you from working full time and obtaining substantial gainful employment and that you need unemployment benefits to compensate for your lack of employment while you seek out job alternatives.
It is, however, important to understand that some states require you to be willing to seek out full-time work in order to receive unemployment benefits. If you are applying for Social Security Disability, you are stating that you are unable to perform full-time work. If the unemployment office discovers that you were actually unable to work because of a disability while you were receiving unemployment benefits, you may be responsible for paying all of those benefits back and you may even be faced with charges of disability fraud.
Many Social Security Disability representatives advise against collecting unemployment benefits when applying for Social Security disability because the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who work for Social Security have been known to look askance at people applying for both benefits at the same time, or even deny the disability claims of those who are collecting unemployment benefits. While it is Social Security’s official stance is that receiving unemployment benefits does not prevent someone from receiving Social Security Disability benefits, a disability claims examiner or ALJ can consider the unemployment filing as one of the factors in considering whether an applicant is disabled.
By: Thomas Klint of Premier Disability Services, LLC®