Will Unemployment Benefits Affect My Social Security Benefits?

Posted by Scott Flexer on Oct 29 2018


No one wants to risk losing their Social Security benefits, so many Americans applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, whether through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplementary Security Income (SSI) are hesitant to apply for unemployment in the event of a job loss. We’re here to answer your questions.

Top 7 Questions Regarding Social Security and Unemployment Benefits

Will unemployment affect SSDI benefits?

No. The Social Security Administration (SSA) classifies Unemployment Compensation benefits as "Unearned Income." As the individual receiving these benefits is generally not working, the payments have no effect on SSDI benefits.

Will unemployment affect SSI benefits?

As unearned income, Unemployment Benefit payments reduce SSI dollar for dollar (after an exclusion for the first 20.00 in Unemployment benefits). The current SSI federal monthly payment maximum is 733.00; therefore, anyone receiving Unemployment benefits in excess of 753.00 will be ineligible for SSI due to excess income.

Is the opposite true: can Social Security benefits affect unemployment?

While unemployment benefits will not affect Social Security payment amounts, the opposite is true under some circumstances. Funds received through one of Social Security benefit programs may end up reducing a person’s unemployment benefits, depending on the state in which the recipient lives.

Which states are affected?

Social Security benefits only affect unemployment benefit amounts in the following states: Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, and South Dakota. If you’re in Florida, you have nothing to worry about.

Didn’t other states used to be affected?

You have a good memory. About 15 years ago, nearly half of all states had some form of unemployment adjustment in place for Social Security beneficiaries (five of which took away unemployment benefits altogether). Due to major economic shifts over the past decade, what was once federal law became a state opt-in decision; in time, most states eliminated unemployment benefit adjustments based on Social Security altogether.

What is an ideal situation in which I’d receive both types of benefits?

An ideal case for receiving both types of benefits is if you are under 62 years of age, currently receiving SSI benefits and actively pursuing work (not retired or receiving retirement benefits).

Another case in which a person could receive both Social Security benefits and unemployment benefits is if the recipient is disabled to such a degree that they cannot work full-time and receive SSDI benefits, but are still looking for some work to generate income.

Note: SSDI benefits will only continue if a beneficiary’s monthly earnings do not exceed $1,090. Once a beneficiary receiving both types of benefits finds work and makes over that amount, SSDI benefits will be discontinued.

Where can I get more information on this topic?

To learn more about receiving unemployment benefits and Social Security payments at the same time, don’t hesitate to contact the unemployment agency in your state or a local disability advocate group in your area. If you’d like to speak with a disability advocate in the Sunshine State, give Disability Experts of Florida a call at 855-777-0455. We are here for you.

The Ultimate Guide to Applying for Disability


Topics: SSDI Benefits, unemployment, SSDI benefit security

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