Can You Collect Social Security & Unemployment in Illinois?

Workers in Illinois who lose their jobs for reasons beyond their control, such as a reduction in force or the employer’s bankruptcy, generally are eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If you’re also receiving Social Security retirement benefits, however, your Illinois unemployment benefits will be offset by half the amount of your Social Security benefits. Your Social Security benefits will not be affected, because Social Security doesn't count unemployment insurance benefits as earnings.

Calculate the Offset

According to Illinois Department of Employment Security's Unemployment Insurance Benefits Handbook, the offset is calculated by first determining the weekly value of the retirement benefit based on a 30-day month. Thus, if your Social Security benefit is 1,313.60 per month, your daily benefit is $43.79 and your weekly benefit is $306.53. If your weekly Illinois unemployment insurance benefit would ordinarily be $331, it will be reduced by half your weekly Social Security benefit, or $153.27. As a result, under that scenario your weekly unemployment insurance benefit will be $177.73.

Rare Offset

In 1980, federal legislation required states to offset UI benefits by 100 percent of any government or other pension or retirement pay. Illinois amended its own unemployment insurance law and regulations to comply. In September of 1980, though, the federal law was amended to remove the mandate and leave it up to the individual states whether they’d offset UI benefits, and if so, by how much. In 1989, Illinois amended its UI law to provide for a 50 percent offset. That law was still on the books in 2015, making Illinois one of only two states to offset Social Security retirement benefits in its unemployment insurance calculations.

Social Security Disability and UI

Unemployment benefits are paid to people who’ve lost their jobs, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid to those unable to work. Applying for UI benefits while collecting SSDI therefore is a relatively uncommon event. Some SSDI applicants apply for UI benefits while their SSDI applications are pending, a process that sometimes takes years. In other cases, SSDI recipients working in a limited capacity who are receiving reduced disability payments may lose their jobs and thus be eligible to file for UI benefits. If you are receiving SSDI payments and file for Illinois unemployment benefits, the base period on which your unemployment benefits are calculated might be adjusted.