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Can i collect social sec. disability and retirement and unemployment at the same time

Dallas, TX |

I became disabled at 62 and received my soc. sec. as a lump sum including retirement and disability. I then began working while disabled and lost my jobl
Can i collect both soc. sec. and unemployment and how much?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. You should of course be careful about working while on SS Disability. If you work too much you could face an overpayment situation. I do believe you can collect unemployment but you do have to report to the Employment Office your receipt of other income. Your problem is you are telling Social Security you are "disabled" and you are telling the Employment Office you are "not disabled" in order to qualify for unemployment compensation. You may want to check with a legal aid attorney in your state.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT LEGAL ADVICE. They are provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided after consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.


  2. You did not say whether you were working full-time or not and for how long you worked. To remain eligible for Social Security disability benefits (SSD), your medical condition(s) must prevent you from being able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA). In the year 2010 Social Security does not consider work to be SGA if your gross earnings from part-time employment are less than $1,000 in any month. You can thus remain eligible for SSD by keeping your earnings below that level. The regulations also provide for a trial work period of up to nine months during your lifetime in which you make make over the SGA amount.

    Unless your state has a law restricting consecutive eligibility, there is no provision in Social Security law that would bar you from receiving both types of benefits. Superficially, it would seem that there is a contradiction between eligibility for SSD ("I am unable to work") and unemployment compensation ("I am able and willing to work"). However, the SSD test is actually, "I am unable to perform substantial gainful activity". Thus, if you are only able to work part-time, there is no contradiction. Also, if you worked for three months or less, Social Security might consider it to be a failed work attempt.

    You should always report any work activity and earnings to Social Security to avoid the possibility that SSA will learn about it three or four years down the road through wage reports and come after you to collect back a large overpayment. Always keep a record of any correspondence with the agency about earnings. The best practice is to take duplicate copies of your pay stubs to the Social Security office so they can date-stamp one copy and return it to you with a receipt. Alternatively, mail copies of pay stubs with a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of the letter for your own records.