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If you are receiving unemployment benefits and then start receiving Social Security Disability Benefits can you still collect unemployment?

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The reasoning behind the Disability Benefits program, is to grant a monthly check to those people who are "no longer able" to perform the duties required to hold their job, or work due to some medical issue. But Unemployment Benefits should be paid when a person finds themselves without a job, but still "perfectly able" to work if they could only find a job. The process seems to work so the person receiving the unemployment benefits must be actively seeking work. So, paying both benefits to the same person wouldn't seem reasonable, they are at odds, one paying because you can't "do the" work another paying because you can't "find" work.


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Yes, you can get both at the same time. This is a very confusing issue. But as explained above, the two are different types of income, and neither one is "wages", and that is what makes it so that one does not affect the other by definition. It seems counter-intuitive, but the bottom line is that neither Unemployment Compensation nor Social Security Disability Income affects the other. You can get both at the same time.

Unemployment compensation is not earnings or wages, you are not receiving it for being an employee or having employment. SSDI income is also not work. You do have to report the income on taxes at the end of the year, but it is not wages, so you do not have to report it as work to the Unemployment office. One way to think of it is, if it is listed on a W2, then it is work. If it is taxable income but not work, it will be on the W9.

The US Government definition of earned wages for disability purposes is:

"For purposes of determining whether Social Security benefits are payable, a person's earnings for a taxable year are the sum of pay for services as an employee plus all net earnings from self-employment (minus any net loss from self-employment) for that year."

For unemployment benefits, even though you received SSDI, that is not earned wages, and you were available to work. You just were unable to find a job that you could do with your particular disability. But you were available and you were actively seeking employment that you would be able to do with the disability.

The disability rules about allowable amounts of wages that one can earn in a trial period without affecting benefits does not come into play. Unemployment benefits are not wages.

See the related links section below for links to this information at the US Government Social Security site

Check your state in the Related Link below for more information.
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