Many individuals wonder if it is possible to collect unemployment benefits when filing a Social Security Disability claim. After all, the Social Security Disability claim process can take months, if not years, to complete. Wouldn't it be convenient if you could obtain unemployment benefits while you wait? More importantly, is it legal to do so? There is technically no law stating that you cannot apply for Social Security Disability benefits while receiving unemployment payments. That does not mean, however, that your unemployment benefits will not affect your eligibility for the Social Security Disability payments you may need.
Apples and Oranges
You need to understand that the Social Security Disability and unemployment programs are two totally different types of government assistance programs. Unemployment benefits are for those who are not disabled. Those who are receiving unemployment benefits are actively seeking work, trying to find a job and receiving financial assistance until that job is found. Those who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, on the other hand, are stating that they are unable to perform any type of work activity and that they are completely disabled. Because of this, a claim for disability benefits may mean that you are obtaining unemployment benefits under false pretenses.
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits while receiving unemployment, it is as if you are contradicting yourself. You are collecting unemployment benefits, which indicates that you are willing and able to work. However, on the other hand, you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, which indicates that you are completely and totally disabled and not able to perform any type of work in the national economy.
You May Be Shooting Yourself in the Foot
If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits while you are collecting unemployment benefits, you may be shooting yourself in the foot. By collecting unemployment benefits, you are stating that you are willing and able to work, but have simply not been able to find work. This completely contradicts the qualifying criteria for Social Security Disability
In order to collect Social Security Disability, you must be completely disabled. This means that you are unable to work. Your best bet is to collect one or the other. If you are disabled, then do not apply for unemployment benefits. Instead, apply for Social Security Disability. If, however, you are not disabled but looking for new employment, unemployment benefits are the answer. There are other forms of financial aid in addition to unemployment benefits that may help you while waiting for disability.