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Should You Collect Unemployment While Filing for Disability?

Should You Collect Unemployment While Filing for Disability?


When you initially file for Social Security Disability benefits, you probably know that you might have a bit of a wait ahead of you. While some health conditions do allow for quicker processing and approvals, many Disability claimants wait for months or even years before their applications are approved. During this time, many ask whether they can, and should, file for Unemployment benefits.

No two situations are exactly alike, but generally speaking there can be a conflict of interests when you file for both Disability and Unemployment at the same time. When you file for Disability, you are essentially stating that you have been unable to work for twelve months or more, or that you won’t be able to work for at least twelve months going forward. Unemployment, on the other hand, requires that you are ready and willing to accept a job when one is offered to you. This is clearly communicated and understood at the time of application.

So, filing for both Unemployment and Disability at the same time could raise some eyebrows with your Social Security claim examiner. They might wonder how you could be “ready and willing” to accept employment at any time, if you are truly disabled and unable to work at all.

However… Social Security’s official stance on the issue is that receiving Unemployment benefits does not automatically disqualify a Disability application. This is simply one issue that they will take into account, when examining your case as a whole, to determine whether you are truly and completely disabled. Certain cases do exist, in which an individual is physically capable of only a very narrow range of work due to their disability. It is likely that the claims examiner will take this into account, and also take a look at the type of jobs for which you’ve applied.

The bottom line is that collecting Unemployment while filing for Disability probably won’t automatically disqualify your claim. But it can certainly add a complication, and cause the claims examiner or Administrative Law Judge presiding over your case to take a second look. Since this issue is very individual in nature, and will depend upon many other factors unique to your situation, we urge you to contact us to discuss your Social Security Disability claim. Then we can offer more personalized advice on your situation, and how to proceed with a claim or appeal for benefits.