Will unemployment benefits affect my Social Security benefits?

It is not uncommon for people applying for Social Security Disability to have collected some sort of income on unemployment. It these difficult economic times, people who cannot work need to find any sort of income to pay their bills so it is certainly understandable. However, it is possible that this may affect eligibility for Disability benefits because Social Security will have evidence of all your income for the last few years.

Unemployment and Social Security Disability are very different programs

Here is the problem: When you apply for Social Security benefits, you are essentially saying that you are too disabled to work. But when you apply for unemployment, you are claiming that you ARE able to work and simply cannot find a job. Obviously these two statements are directly conflicting. So how does Social Security handle this situation?

Social Security does not explicitly say that receiving unemployment prevents receiving Disability. In fact, some Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) are not bothered at all by a claimant having received unemployment. At the same time, other ALJ's are very bothered by this discrepancy. Some will reduce a claimant's past benefits or prevent a favorable result altogether. Unfortunately, like most situations in Social Security Disability and law, there isn't a black and white rule to follow. Contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer and getting the process going may be a good place to start


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