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Can you file for SSDI while you’re on unemployment?

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | SSDI

This is a tricky question, but it comes up a lot. Often, people with a disabling condition will keep working as long as they can. They can sometimes manage in long-term positions for quite a while before something happens, and they’re the first ones the boss lets go.

They apply for unemployment benefits but quickly realize that, given their limitations, it’s going to be impossible to find another job. They want to file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits, but they still need their unemployment benefits to get by while they’re waiting on a decision.

Officially, receiving unemployment benefits is not a barrier to collecting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unofficially, it could be a different story.

It’s one factor that must be considered in the process

When you apply for SSDI benefits, you’re saying that you can’t work in any substantial fashion because of your disabilities. When you’re on unemployment, however, you have to look for work and be willing to take it if you can find it. That puts the two programs in somewhat of a conflict.

The receipt of unemployment won’t automatically destroy your claim, but your attempts to find work will be considered among other factors when your claim is decided. When you file for SSDI, it’s very important to make it clear that you are unable to find work to which you could adapt because of your disabilities – not merely because the local economy is in a slump.

What’s the bottom line? Unemployment benefits may not automatically bar you from receiving SSDI benefits, but it may ultimately weigh against you. How much it actually matters may depend on the strength of your overall claim.

Issues like these are hard to sort out on your own, especially when you’re dealing with complicated sets of rules for each program. Knowing more about the possibilities can help you make informed decisions for your future.