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Why It's Risky To Collect SSDI And Unemployment At The Same Time

If you are unable to perform the work that you had previously performed due to disability, you may find yourself in a difficult financial position. By being unemployed, you may consider collecting unemployment insurance. However, if you are qualified for Social Security disability, you may wonder how applying for unemployment can affect your Social Security benefits.

Receiving Social Security Benefits

When you apply for SSDI, you are telling the SSA that you will not be able to perform substantial gainful activity for 12 months due to a physical or mental impairment. You may be able to work somewhat, but not enough to sustain yourself.

One of the downsides of Social Security is that you will have to wait 90 days to receive a payment. It may take even longer if you are not initially approved. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you may find it substantially harder to pay your bills without applying for unemployment benefits. However, this might send the wrong message to the SSA.

When you file for unemployment benefits, you are telling the SSA that you are ready to work and will return to work when you are no longer unemployed. You are allowed to receive SSDI benefits while also receiving unemployment, but this may confuse the SSA.

Potential Problems with Unemployment

If you file for SSDI and do not inform the employment commission, you may have your unemployment benefits terminated. You may even be required to pay back the money you received. Also, in some states, you are not allowed to collect unemployment if you are also receiving SSDI. 

Sedentary Work

If you previously did not perform a sedentary job but you received an injury, you may receive benefits due to the medical-vocational allowance. You will then be allowed to work while continuing to receive SSDI benefits.

Speaking with a Social Security Attorney

If you are still not sure if you should apply for unemployment while also applying for Social Security, a long-term disability attorney can help. An attorney will usually advise you not to accept unemployment because they know that the SSA will look at an application for unemployment with suspicion. 

Fortunately, the cost of speaking with a long-term disability attorney is initially free because most disability attorneys actually accept cases on a contingency basis. If you receive benefits from the SSA, you will then pay a portion of those benefits to your attorney.