If a debilitating medical condition prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits to help you continue to support yourself and your family. However, even if you are eligible for SSD aid, receiving the help you need can take time.
You might find it tempting to collect unemployment benefits while you wait for SSD benefits or in addition to SSD payments. However, these two programs serve very different purposes, and accepting payments from both could lead to monetary and criminal penalties.
How are unemployment and SSD programs different?
While the state pays unemployment benefits, the federal government handles disability payments. These programs also differ in what type of aid they provide.
Unemployment benefits offer temporary payments to help you financially as you seek new work. By accepting this assistance, you admit that you are physically able to work and actively seeking employment.
By contrast, Social Security Disability benefits may be available to you if a disabling condition prevents you from returning to work at all or only returning under limited circumstances.
What penalties might you face for collecting both?
If you collect unemployment compensation prior to submitting a Social Security Disability claim, you may have to repay the unemployment amounts you received. You might also face charges of criminal fraud.
In some very limited circumstances, you can collect unemployment benefits while your SSD claim is pending. However, to avoid the risk of penalties, you may want to contact your local Social Security office before applying for SSD.