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Can I legally collect SS and unemployment benefits at the same time?

Baraboo, WI |

My job was discontinued after 15 years on December 31, 2011. I turned 64 on this day also. I received severance pay for 3 months and when that ended I started receiving unemployment benefits. I was not planing on retiring yet as I am in good health and enjoy working. The unemployment is no where near what I was making and it is hard to get by on this. All the jobs in the area start at about what I get on unemployment (which so far I have not been able to find one in my field anyway). Would I be able get SS benefits plus unemployment and how would it work if it were possible? Would the SS take away from unemployment and make the payments less or just in the week I would receive the SS?

Attorney Answers 3


You may receive both.

See the following site for more:

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Generally, yes.

The short answer is "yes, you can collect both types of benefits at the same time" in 45 states. Not so many years ago, a federal law required that states offset unemployment compensation benefits in part, or in full, for individuals receiving Social Security retirement payments. A subsequent federal law then permitted states to decide on such "Social Security offsets" through legislation - and thank goodness they did.

Today, only four states, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, and Utah,retain the "offset" rule. South Dakota has repealed the rule but not yet implemented the change. Colorado is considering a repeal of its offset. In these states, unemployment compensation benefits are reduced by 50 percent of your Social Security payment. This can reduce unemployment benefits to near zero for most workers.


Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.

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Maxwell Charles Livingston

Maxwell Charles Livingston


Wonderful response, Mr. Wayson. Absolutely top notch analysis.


This is not a simple yes or no question. To collect UI benefits in Wisconsin, you must be available for work. In order to collect benefits, you must continually verify that you are able, available and willing to accept suitable work. And, you must actively search for work: Unless directed otherwise, you must search for work as directed each week or benefits may be denied.

You must notify the Department of Workforce Development, and the department must investigate any circumstance that restricts your ability or availability for work. Examples include, but are not limited to, the hours you can work, the type of work you can perform and the distance you can travel. Even if you are working you may be disqualified if you are not available for full-time work. See

And you must notify DWD of other benefits: For Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) -- If you have not already discussed your physical restrictions with UI, call a Claims Specialist immediately. See

The problem you may face is that if an SSA Judge asks you if you are getting unemployment, that is a factor that may be legally considered in whether you are disabled for SS benefits. So, while you may legally be able to get UI and SS disability benefits, it is not easy.

You may contact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

I hope that helps. Good luck to you!
Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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