Will Unemployment Compensation affect my Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
July 9, 2020
By Shelley W. Elovitz, Esquire
There are cases where you can work and receive Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (see our article “Can I Work While Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits.”) But what if you lose your job? Are you eligible for Unemployment Compensation?
If you are enrolled in the Social Security Ticket to Work program and you worked for at least six months before you were laid off, you are eligible to collect unemployment benefits and disability benefits at the same time.
Social Security uses Grid Rules based on age, RFC (Residual Capacity Forms) level (sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work), education level, and work history and skills to determine disability. If you are over 50 years old and can only do sedentary work, and if you have been seeking sedentary work while collecting unemployment, you may remain eligible for both unemployment and disability. If you are over 55 years old and can only do light work, and you have been seeking light work while collecting unemployment, you may remain eligible for both unemployment and disability.
Unemployment benefits do not affect or reduce retirement and disability benefits. State unemployment compensation payments are not wages because they are paid due to unemployment rather than employment. However, income from Social Security may reduce your unemployment compensation.
The problem with collecting unemployment benefits and disability benefits is that unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania is based on you looking for full-time work. However, disability benefits are based on your inability to work full time. An administrative law judge could agree or disagree that you are entitled to both. In our opinion, attempting to work/or collecting Unemployment Compensation invites closer scrutiny of your chance to obtain, stay on, or re-obtain Social Security Disability Insurance and can often result in an allegation of an overpayment by the Social Security bureaucracy. Therefore, you should consult your attorney before you do anything. Call our office at (412) 338-1153 or contact us online.