How Does Collecting Unemployment Insurance Affect Social Security Retirement, Social Security Disability, and SSI benefits?

The pandemic has caused unemployment rates to skyrocket.  Millions of people have applied or are attempting to apply for unemployment insurance.  Many are concerned on how this will impact their Social Security benefits.

Social Security Retirement:

Unemployment benefits are not counted as wages under the Social Security annual earnings test, so they won’t affect your Social Security retirement benefits.

Some states used to reduce an unemployment benefit if you collected Social Security, but that is no longer the case. All states that had such policies have repealed them.

Social Security Disability:

Unemployment benefits do not count toward the substantial gainful activity level of $1,260 (2020) earnings per month because they are not the result of current work activities.  So it is technically possible to receive both unemployment benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  However, it gets tricky. When you apply for unemployment benefits you attest that you are ready and able to work but you lost your job through no fault of your own and are actively looking for work.  When you apply for SSDI benefits you attest that you are unable to work at the substantial gainful activity level of $1260 per month (2020).  So you can see the problem.

SSI Benefits:

Unemployment benefits would affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because it is counted as unearned income. So, each dollar of unemployment would count against the $803 (2020) per month unearned income limit for SSI.


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