Can You File for Unemployment and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

You can file for Unemployment and Social Security Disability Benefits at the same time, but it can be tricky. The programs seem to clash, but being educated about the two programs will help you and your lawyer build your case. Here’s what you need to know about filing for disability and unemployment benefits at the same time.

Understanding the Conflict

It’s hard to see how you can receive both unemployment and social security disability benefits at the same time because of what you’re claiming as you apply to each program.

"Find job" keyboard buttonWhen you file for unemployment benefits, you are saying that you are able and willing to work, but that through no fault of your own, you cannot find a job. See for further information on qualifying and applying for unemployment benefits.

When you file for social security disability benefits, however, you are saying you have a disability, illness, or injury that prevents you from making a living. More specifically, you’re saying that you are not able to work at any job earning more than $1,090 a month for 12 months.

Making both claims at the same time can seem contradictory, but the law does not prevent such action.

Applying for both benefits may be legal, but that does not mean that you will always get them both. Qualifying for and receiving unemployment benefits is easier and faster than getting social security disability benefits. The social security application process is long and complex.

Throughout the social security disability claims process, judges, medical experts, and others will scrutinize your medical history and physical ability. These decision makers will ensure that you really have a disability that prevents you from working before approving your application. Judges can reasonably use an unemployment claim to discredit the disability claim.

Reaching a Solution

You can receive unemployment and social security disability benefits at the same time, but it is difficult to accomplish and requires very specific situations.

Under social security rules, unemployment benefits are considered income replacement, while disability benefits are considered disability income. To get both, you need to prove that you qualify for both benefits and that they don’t cancel each other outFor example, if your unemployment is more than $1,090 a month, the benefits will cancel each other out.

If you do qualify for unemployment benefits while waiting for your disability benefits decision to be made, and your disability case is not denied for receiving those benefits, you’re still not out of the woods. If you also later receive disability benefits, you may be required to reimburse the state for any period where unemployment benefits overlapped with your disability benefits. You should talk to a disability lawyer to see how this can work for you.

Whatever you and your disability lawyer decide to do, you need to tell the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the state about any financial benefits you receive. You do not want to appear dishonest or give either organization a reason to deny you benefits.

If you are considering a claim for one or both set of benefits, a disability lawyer is a necessary and invaluable asset to you in this process. Get a free copy of our book to find out how we can help you through this process.


Image courtesy of Niekverlaan via Pixabay.