Question of the Month: Can I Get Unemployment Benefits While I Am Applying for Social Security Disability?

November 3, 2022

This is a tricky question to answer.

Social Security does not prohibit a person from receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time.

However, when you file for unemployment benefits, you represent that you are ready, willing, and able to work. When you file for Social Security Disability, you are saying that you are unable to work.

For these reasons, some Social Security administrative law judges see a conflict between collecting unemployment and applying for disability at the same time. Therefore, it can be considered a red flag in a disability claim and lead to your benefits getting denied. In addition, SSI benefits may be reduced by any unemployment you receive.

Ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you and your family. But because Social Security has access to unemployment benefits information, it is usually included in your claims file, and Social Security will know when you’re collecting unemployment benefits.

It is essential that you provide Social Security and other government agencies with honest and truthful answers to any questions you are asked when applying for disability or unemployment benefits. This includes if you are asked whether you are receiving or have applied for any other benefits.

Depending on the state, you may be required to pay unemployment back if you’re seeking or receiving Social Security Disability. Some states may also prohibit you from filing for unemployment if you have a Social Security Disability case pending. It’s important to check with your state’s unemployment office for their specific rules.

If you’re collecting unemployment benefits and considering applying for Social Security Disability, or vice versa, contact the Chicagoland disability lawyers at Nash Disability Law for a free evaluation of your situation.