What You Need To Know If You’re Unemployed And Eligible For Social Security Benefits
No one wants to risk losing their Social Security benefits, so many Americans applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, whether through Social Security Disability Insurance are hesitant to apply for unemployment in the event of a job loss.
Is it true that you will lose benefits? If youre wondering how can unemployment benefits affect Social Security disability earnings, then DEF is here to answer your questions.
Can Receiving Unemployment Benefits Affect My Ssi Or Ssdi Benefits
This is not a simple question, since not all Social Security disability benefits are equal. Since SSDI benefits are separate from SSI with different eligibility requirements, they are not equally affected by unemployment earnings.
If you are currently receiving SSDI and apply for unemployment, your SSDI benefits will not be affected. The Social Security Administration classifies Unemployment Compensation benefits as “Unearned Income.” As the individual receiving these benefits is generally not working, the payments do not affect SSDI benefits.
However, unemployment compensation will affect earnings from SSI payments. As unearned income, unemployment benefit payments reduce SSI dollar for dollar . Since the current 2021SSI federal monthly payment maximum is $794.00, anyone receiving unemployment benefits over $814.00 will be ineligible for SSI due to excess income.
Social Security Disability Programs
State Disability Insurance benefits generally last a year or less. If you and your doctor/medical provider think that you are going to be disabled for longer than a year, you should apply for Social Security Disability Insurance , a federal disability insurance program that you pay into through payroll taxes. If youve paid into the system for a long enough period of time, you can get this benefit. SSDI requires that your disability last longer than a year, so it can pick up where SDI leaves off. If you are on SSDI and SDI at the same time, your SSDI will be reduced.
You should also consider applying for Supplemental Security Income if you expect your disability to last longer than a year, or if you havent worked long enough to get SSDI. This is a federal income program that provides a benefit for low-income people who have a disability, are blind, or are at least 65. If you get SSI and SDI at the same time, your SSI benefit goes down.
For both of these programs, you should apply right away, as claims can take more than a year to be processed.
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What Can You Do
My general advice is: this is a tough choice, but don’t apply for Social Security Disability until you are within sight of your unemployment benefits running out. It usually will take about a year from application to hearing.
Most important: don’t lie, don’t omit information, and be up front with both Social Security and your state employment agency. The last thing you need is to get a Social Security overpayment you have to repay, or worse, face possible criminal charges for lying. To read more about this situation, see our article on Collecting Unemployment While Waiting for Social Security.
Not Keeping Good Records Of Your Condition
The more records you have of your symptoms and how your disability affects your day-to-day life, the easier it will be to get approved for SDI benefits and, if needed, make a case for continuing your benefit payments past the date your medical provider originally said you should be able to return to work. Keeping a daily journal of even minor symptoms can help quite a bit, and can jog your memory when you are talking with medical providers about your medical condition. If your disability makes you unable to keep a journal yourself, a friend or relative can do it for you.
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Can I File A Social Security Disability Claim While I Am Receiving Unemployment Benefits A Ssdi Attorney Explains
It is possible to file for Social Security Disability Insurance while you are receiving unemployment benefits, but it is problematic. The trouble is that if you file for SSDI you are essentially saying that you cant work for at least a year. However, if you receive unemployment benefits you are saying that you are willing and able to work and are indeed looking for work. According to the Social Security Administration, you cannot be barred from receiving disability benefits because you are unemployed. However, the administrative law panel that reviews your SSDI application can use your receipt of unemployment benefits as a factor in deciding your disability case. The complexity of these issues will require the expertise and experience of a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney to help you properly handle this case.
How SSDI Judges View Unemployment Benefits
The people who will review your SSDI application will know that you are collecting unemployment benefits. They have access to all such information. Some judges will deny your disability claim if you received unemployment after applying for disability. Other judges are more sympathetic to applicants. They understand that people must live on something, and that they cannot wait for a disability claim to go through the review process.
The administrative judges who review your application will take all these factors into account.
Should I File?
Who Qualifies For Disability Benefits
Disability benefits from both Federal programs Supplemental Security Income program and Social Security Disability Insurance provide necessary financial assistance for individuals who cannot work due to severe medical impairments.
SSDI and SSI are not designed to be a temporary replacement for work until you can find another job. Instead, claimants often suffer from severe and long-lasting complications which make it impossible for them to return to work in any capacity.
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Income When Out Of Work Due To Surgery
Short-term disability insurance can provide partial income replacement while you are out of work due to surgery. However, many people do not have coverage in the state. Or, they did not buy a private policy before the need arose.
You may be wondering what alternatives exist if this describes your situation. Unfortunately, very few good options exist. Taking out a personal loan or enrolling in a debt settlement program are the remaining alternatives.
Disability Vs Unemployment Claims
When you file for SSDI or SSI disability benefits, you’re stating that, due to a physical and/or mental impairment, either you’ve been unable to perform substantial work activity for 12 months or you expect you’ll be unable to work for at least 12 months. But when filing for unemployment benefits, you’re stating you are ready and available to perform work if you can find a job that fits your work skills. Some states even require that you’re ready and able to perform full-time work to be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.
In some states, you might have to repay unemployment benefits you weren’t actually eligible for, if Social Security later finds you were disabled during a period you collected those unemployment benefits.
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Whether To Apply For Unemployment Benefits
What should you do? To be safe, especially in the few states where filing an application for unemployment means you’re saying you’re available to work full time, some disablity applicants wait to apply for disability benefits until their unemployment benefits run out. Others change the date they say they became disabled until after their unemployment benefits have stopped.
Differences Between Disability Benefits And Paid Family Leave
- Only the birth mother is eligible for disability benefits for the period immediately after the birth of a child.
- Paid Family Leave begins after the birth and is not available for prenatal conditions.
- A parent may take Paid Family Leave during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
- You cannot collect disability benefits and Paid Family Leave benefits at the same time.
- There is a limited exception to this for employees who may be eligible for both disability benefits and Paid Family Leave when subject to an order of quarantine due to COVID-19. See PaidFamilyLeave.ny.gov/COVID19 for details.
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Can I Be Disabled And Looking For Work
The key issue at stake is that if you allege disability, to be successful you must prove you cannot do work of any kind. But, if you file for and are receiving unemployment benefits, you are attesting to the fact that you are actively looking for work.
This can be confusing but is not something that typically presents a problem for our claimants. It is not unusual for disabled individuals to lose their job and to attempt to return to the workforce. Along the way, their medical condition continues to deteriorate and many find it impossible to get another job.
This is particular true during a period of unprecedented economic disruption like what weve experienced with Covid-19. Therefore, although Social Security will be aware that you received unemployment benefits in the past, in our experience, that has little bearing on your future qualifications relating to disability programs. The Social Security Administration will look at the same qualifying factors for SSDI or SSI no matter if you have received unemployment benefits in the past or not.
In our experience, some Judges may bring unemployment up in broader conversations about an individuals working history during a hearing. But, thats why its important to have a qualified disability lawyer representing you throughout your claim so they can provide needed context and background on the larger picture.
Eligibility: Social Security Disability And Unemployment
The Social Security Administration does not explicitly deny Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claims by those already receiving unemployment benefits. However, you can see by looking at the eligibility requirements why Social Security and unemployment claims often don’t mix:
- Unemployment: Must be ready, willing and able to work on a full-time basis
- Disability: Must be unable to work a full-time job for 12 months because of a disabling medical condition. If a person is expected to be unable to work for 12 months, this qualifies as well.
A 1999 U.S. Supreme Court case held that Social Security disability claims “did not inherently conflict” with other types of benefits. However, it is up to the claimant to prove that his eligibility for unemployment benefits is not in conflict with a disability claim.
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Does Unemployment Count As Income For Ssdi
While social security benefits might reduce your unemployment benefits , collecting unemployment compensation will never reduce your social security benefits. Thats because social security only counts wages as income when calculating benefits. Unemployment is not considered salary and, therefore, it is not counted.
Denying To Yourself That You Have A Disability
Many people take a long time to learn to cope with a new condition, and in the beginning won’t admit to themselves, their family, and their medical provider that they have an injury or illness that stops them from being able to work. Because of this, at first you might not be giving your medical providers an accurate or full understanding of your condition or how much it affects your day-to-day activities. It’s extremely important that you let your medical provider know exactly what is going on, because in most cases State Disability Insurance relies on your medical provider to let them know how serious your disability is, and how long it might last. If you haven’t been completely honest with your medical provider and then apply for SDI, the report about your disability might be inaccurate or incomplete, and you might be turned down or you might be given benefits for a shorter period of time than you need. Note: In some cases, EDD may order an independent medical examination.
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Can I Get Food Stamps With Disability
If you are receiving SSDI and also qualify for SNAP benefits because you have limited income and resources, you can receive food stamps under SNAP. If you are receiving SSDI, you will be considered disabled for purposes of SNAP, and you may be able to deduct some of your medical expenses from your income.
Can I Get Disability Insurance If I Go To A Drug Rehabilitation Facility Recommended By My Physician/practitioner
You may qualify for up to 45 days of Disability Insurance benefits if you live at a physician/practitioner-approved drug-free residential rehabilitation facility. An additional 45 days may be paid if you remain a resident of the facility and your physician/practitioner continues to certify to your need for continuing residential services.
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What Can I Do While On Disability
SSDI recipients are entitled to a trial work period during which they can make more than the SGA amount without losing benefits. Trial work period. Extended period of eligibility. Expedited reinstatement. Calculating countable income. State supplemental payments. Expedited reinstatement. Ticket to Work program.
Giving Up On Edd Because They Are Difficult To Reach
It can be frustrating trying to contact the California Employment Development Department about State Disability Insurance or Paid Family Leave because EDD staff are often extremely busy and hard to reach, but it is important to keep trying, especially if you have questions about your application or what’s happening with your benefits. EDD provides a list of ways to contact them, including online chat, phone, local offices, and by mail. You may need to try more than one way to contact EDD.
Tip: If you are contacting them by phone, the main English phone line is often busy, and you might want to call one of the non-English phone numbers — the people who answer those lines are knowledgeable about SDI and speak English in addition to the other language.Note: DB101 cannot answer questions about your SDI claim. If you have questions, please contact EDD.
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The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet some for disability benefits.
- We check whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This State agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you are disabled, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed
Look For Our Response
Youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal mySocial Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appeal A Decision
Applying For Disability While Receiving Unemployment
One of the most commonly asked questions among those who are out of work and disabled is whether or not they can receive both unemployment benefits and Social Security disability benefits. While there is not a specific regulation with the Social Security Administration regarding receiving unemployment benefits while applying for Social Security disability benefits, its generally not a good idea.
Social Security disability benefits are overseen by the SSA, a department of the federal government. Unemployment benefits, while they are mandated by federal law, are overseen by state governments. The laws regarding unemployment benefits and who can receive them vary from state to state.
Most states require a person to be available for full time work and capable of performing full time work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. Typically, before you can be approved for unemployment benefits, you will need to attest that you are capable of working full time.
The problem becomes readily apparent to most. Obviously, you cant be ready, willing, and able to accept full time work and completely unable to perform any work for which you are qualified due to a disability at the same time. Making conflicting claims like this is unlikely to gain you disability benefits. If anything, you might lose your unemployment benefits and face legal trouble and the possibility of having to reimburse the government what it has paid you.
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Eligibility Requirements For Unemployment Benefits
If you are out of work and cannot find employment, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if you meet the following requirements:
- Unemployed by no fault of your own
- Earned a minimum amount of wages in the prior 12 months
- Be willing and physically able to work, as well as actively seeking employment
Can I Receive Disability Insurance And Unemployment Insurance Benefits At The Same Time
No. You cannot receive Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time.
You cannot certify for disability while also certifying for UI. You must choose the program that best applies to you.
No. The State Disability Insurance program and contributions are mandatory under the California Unemployment Insurance Code.
There are two exceptions:
- If your employer or a majority of employees in your company apply for approval of a Voluntary Plan in place of SDI coverage. For more information visit: Voluntary Plan Information.
- If you adhere to the faith or teaching of a bona fide religious sect, denomination, or organization whose creed, tenets, or principles require dependence on prayer for healing you may request an exemption. Complete and mail the Religious Exemption Certificate to the address on the form. If you are granted this exemption, you will not be eligible to receive SDI benefits.
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