Skip to main content

Can a person on disability receive unemployment especially if they have been trying to find employment in a recession atmosphere

Norristown, PA |

It is difficult to find a job in an atmosphere of a recession or recovering recession. Doors are closing, and bills are piling up and financial responsibilities are due. It breaks my heart after working all of my life as an American Citizen and going to school and having special skills for different employment, but no one is giving me a job. I still keep moving forward in keeping myself involved in the job employment process, but to no avail. I do need a permanent job for my living expenses. I need my car. I need to pay electric. It is necessary to pay car insurance. Please help. If only I can collect unemployment along with my disability, it would help me tremendously until I get a job, although I would rather be employed with a job. My former employer downsized. I was let go.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


No. In a disability claim you essentially claim that you are subtantially disabled from employment that is within your vocational abilities.

In an unemployment claim you basically say you are ready, able and willing to work, but there is no work.

These two claims are largely mutually exclusive.

I truly wish you the best.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.


Unfortunately you did not state exactly what type of disability your are receiving (SSI, SSI,VA Benefits or pursuant to a private short term or longer term disability policy) The type of disability and the program paying the disability may affect the answer to your question.

If you are receiving disability based upon a medical opinion that you are unable to work, then generally you would be disqualified from unemployment compensation benefits. Unemployment compensation benefits require that you be ready, willing and able to work-as well as actively seeking employment. Total disability" would disqualify you from this.

If your disability payments are based upon a private contract or payment for a VA disability rating and you are not "total disabled" i.e. you can work, but not what you did before your disability, then you would need to review the specific language in your policy or VA rating payments. It may be that if you receive unemployment, you disability is simply reduced.

Lastly, there may be specific circumstance which allow you to meet both unemployment compensation's criteria of ready, willing and able to work and while meeting a private policy or VA disability criteria. However this would be extremely fact specific and based upon your medical records.

It is highly recommended that you talk to a specialist in the filed of your disability (social security disability, VA Disability, Short and Long Term Disability Private Policy attorney) before you apply for unemployment compensation.


To follow-up on David's reply, if the "disability" that you are receiving is Pennsylvania workers' compensation then I have some "good" news for you.

Yes, you can receive unemployment compensation benefits and workers' compensation benefits at the same time in Pennsylvania.

If you have been released to return to work with restrictions due to your work injury and your employer does not have work available for you within your restrictions (because they downsized) then you can apply for and receive unemployment compensation benefits.

You should also apply for workers' compensation benefits due to your work injury. Your employer's workers' compensation insurance is responsible for paying your work related medical treatment and for your wage loss.

The only "problem" that you will have is that, when your workers' compensation insurance carrier starts to pay you for your wage loss, they will take a credit for the unemployment compensation benefits that you receive. End result, you will not be able to double dip.

So, if your disability is due to a work injury then apply for unemployment compensation while your workers' compensation claim is being processed. In most cases, the unemployment compensation claim will put some money in your pocket faster then the workers' compensation claim. When the workers' compensation claim kicks in, you will get some additional money as workers' compensation generally pays you more then unemployment compensation.

Trust that this is helpful.


That depends on several factors, the degree of disability, whether the disability is temporary or permanent, the willingness of the employer to accomodate the disability, and the sucess in finding alternate employemnt within the medical restrictions. If the disability is total it would be inconsistant to state to the state agency that you are ready, willing and able to work. If the disability is partial, and the restrictions are truthfully made known to the state agency, unemployment can be recieved, if state law permits. Large employers are required under the ADA to accomodate work restrictions in most cases and failure to do so can lead to liability under the Act. This is exactly the kind of situation where a lawyer can be helpful. I strongly recommend consulting a lawyer experienced in workers compensation and employment law.

Employment topics

Recommended articles about Employment

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer