Yes, technically, you can receive Social Security disability benefits and other forms of government benefits at the same time. However, it is vital that you understand how these different programs interact with each other so that you do not hinder your disability claim.
Unemployment benefits are a great resource for out of work Americans. But, collecting both disability and unemployment benefits is risky and complicated. Why? Because unemployment benefits are mainly reserved for people able and willing to work but cannot find employment, whereas disability benefits are for individuals who cannot work at all.
Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment Benefits
If you are out of work and cannot find employment, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if you meet the following requirements:
- Unemployed by no fault of your own
- Earned a minimum amount of wages in the prior 12 months
- Be willing and physically able to work, as well as actively seeking employment
Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Benefits
In contrast to unemployment, Americans suffering from a debilitating medical condition preventing them from working can receive Social Security disability benefits. In order to receive your disability benefits, you must meet Social Security’s definition of disability, which includes:
- An inability to work at your previous job
- An inability to work any other job type
- Possess a debilitating medical condition that will last one year or result in death
If you do not meet the requirements above, you can still more than likely meet the requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While similar to Social Security disability, SSI offers unemployed, disabled Americans benefits. The Social Security Administration look at two categories when determining eligibility for SSI — assets and income. If you meet the income and resource guidelines of those two categories, you can qualify for SSI. In addition, you must also:
- Be at least 65 years or old
- Be blind or disabled
- Possess limited resources and income
- Be a United States citizen or national
- Reside in one of the 50 States
If you think you’re eligible to receive Social Security or SSI benefits, then consult a Bakersfield disability attorney to start the process now.
Can You Collect Disability and Unemployment at the Same Time?
Though you may receive unemployment benefits, that doesn’t automatically qualify you for disability benefits as well. However, during the application process, your attorney will help you determine if you meet both requirements.
When considering your disability application, the court and administrative law judge (ALJ) will check if you are also receiving unemployment. That could be risky. Why? Since unemployment requires the ability to work but cannot find employment, then the ALJ may deduce that your disability does not prevent you from working. Which means that your disability claim will be denied. However, keep in mind that the ALJ will take the types of jobs you’re applying for into consideration.
On the flip side, since disability benefits require an inability to work, then that may cancel out the main requirement for unemployment — an ability to work. An ALJ may see your disability application as you effectively canceling out your unemployment status. That means that you may be required to pay back a portion of your total unemployment earnings.
As you can see, trying to collect both disability and unemployment benefits is very complicated and risky. In order to successfully receive both benefits, you must consult an experienced Bakersfield disability attorney.
Contact a Knowledgeable Bakersfield CA Disability Attorney
There are vital considerations you need to make when trying to apply for both disability and unemployment. Because you do not want to risk your benefits when you absolutely need them, it’s best to consult with experienced Bakersfield CA disability attorney for legal advice. At Oren & Oren, we have helped numerous clients receive the benefits they deserve. Contact us today.