If you are disabled, it’s important to consider Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation. These are separate types of disability benefits that serve different purposes. In some situations, it may be possible for you to qualify for both. Below, we will analyze Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation and how the two programs are related.
Social Security Disability vs Unemployment Compensation: Which is right for me?
When people refer to “Social Security disability” they are often referring to the Social Security Disability Insurance program. Sometimes we abbreviate this to SSD or SSDI. However, people with disabilities who have little income and few resources, may also be eligible for disability payments through the Supplemental Security Income program. This is often abbreviated SSI. A vast majority of disability claimants fall under the SSDI and/or the SSI disability programs.
Social Security disability is not intended to be a replacement for unemployment compensation. To the contrary, unless you are unable to work, you are not eligible for Social Security disability. On the other hand, if you are able to work, but unable to find a job, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation.
When considering Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation, your ability to work will often tell us which program is better for you.
It is possible to qualify for both unemployment compensation and Social Security disability if you meet the requirements for both programs, but you should proceed with caution. We will address the issues below.
Social Security Disability vs Unemployment Compensation: How they relate
In most cases, Social Security disability and unemployment compensation are completely and totally separate. It is possible to qualify for one and not the other. It is also possible you can qualify for both. Each program has its own requirements. The question is whether you meet the requirements of each program.
Does unemployment affect Social Security disability?
Receiving unemployment benefits can hurt your Social Security disability case. Because you generally need to state that you are “ready, willing, and able to work” when you apply for unemployment benefits, the Social Security Administration may view that as an admission that you can work. If you’re able to work, you are not disabled. Thus, they can use this to deny your claim.
To be clear, Social Security ALJ’s have been advised that there is no direct conflict between unemployment and disability. In fact, they have received this memorandum. Nevertheless, ALJ’s are human. Some will view unemployment as an admission you can work.
We generally can excuse unemployment in some situations. For example, you may be “ready, willing, and able to work part time“. Since Social Security disability requires you to prove you cannot work full time, an admission you can work part-time does not necessarily destroy your claim. Even so, this tactic should be used with caution. You should discuss this with your Social Security disability lawyer.
It may also be true that if you are over 50 years old that you simply can’t do highly physical work anymore. You may be “ready, willing, and able to work in a sedentary capacity”. Technically, this would still allow you to be eligible for both programs. Again though, this should be used with caution.
Generally, we advise our clients to be very wary of applying for both types of benefits at the same time.
Does Social Security disability affect unemployment compensation?
It is possible that applying for Social Security disability can affect your unemployment claim. Because you are stating you are “ready, willing, and able to work”, applying for disability benefits may suggest the opposite. Your employer may use your disability application against you.
The bottom line here is that if you are applying for both types of benefits, you should really speak with a Social Security disability lawyer before doing so. This will help you to avoid destroying both of your claims.
SSI vs Unemployment Compensation: How they relate
Because SSI is a means tested program, it would be unusual that you would be able to collect both SSI and unemployment compensation. In most cases, if you receive unemployment benefits you will not qualify for SSI during that time period. However, if your unemployment compensation runs out, you may qualify for SSI at a later date.
Keep in mind that because SSI uses the same definition of disability as SSDI, you may have the same problems we discussed above. There may be a conflict in saying you are “able to work” for unemployment while claiming you are “unable to work” for disability.
Does unemployment affect SSI?
Yes, receiving unemployment benefits would directly affect your SSI eligibility. You will need to be aware of SSI income limits. It is likely that receiving unemployment benefits will disqualify you from receiving SSI. That’s not to say you will never qualify for SSI, but you would not qualify while you are receiving the unemployment benefits.
Does SSI affect unemployment benefits?
It is possible that applying for SSI can affect your unemployment claim. Because you are stating you are “ready, willing, and able to work”, applying for SSI may suggest the opposite. Your employer may use your disability application against you.
The bottom line here is that if you are applying for both types of benefits, you should really speak with an SSI lawyer before doing so. This will help you to avoid destroying both of your claims.
Can you get unemployment and Social Security disability?
Technically, you can receive both types of benefits, but you should proceed with caution. You should discuss this with a lawyer if you are considering Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation.
The Social Security Administration has stated that “Receipt of unemployment benefits does not preclude the receipt of Social Security disability benefits. The receipt of unemployment benefits is only one of many factors that must be considered in determining whether the
claimant is disabled.” Moreover, “it is SSA’s position that individuals need not choose between applying for unemployment
insurance and Social Security disability benefits.”
So at least on its face, it may not be a question of Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation. It’s possible to receive both. This doesn’t end the inquiry though.
Application for unemployment benefits is evidence that the ALJ must consider together with all of the medical and other evidence. In other words, the Administrative Law Judges will look at the totality of the circumstances in determining the significance of the application for unemployment benefits and related efforts to obtain employment.
So you can see this is not a cut and dry issue. You should never make the decision of Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation without speaking to a Social Security disability lawyer first. This will help you to avoid destroying both of your claims.
Contact ARM Lawyers today
When you are disabled, you need a disability lawyer who understands both Social Security disability and unemployment compensation. Our disability lawyer handles both types of benefits so we can tell you what you need to know about Social Security disability vs unemployment compensation.
Never hesitate to reach out to our office during any part of the process. We can skillfully guide you through everything, step by step. Call 484-464-2066 for a free consultation today.