Can Someone Collect Unemployment While Collecting Social Security?

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If you combine working and Social Security benefits to make a living, losing your job might create a serious financial challenge. You may be able to collect unemployment benefits, or at least a portion of them, while also getting Social Security. Eligibility for both programs depends partly on where you live and partly on the type of Social Security benefits you receive.


Unemployment and Retirement Benefits

In most states, receiving Social Security benefits won't affect unemployment compensation, or vice versa. The unemployment insurance rules in a few states impose a reduction, called an offset, in unemployment benefits for people who also receive Social Security. Reductions are calculated as a percentage of the Social Security benefit amount and can eliminate part of your unemployment benefit amount, or the entire amount.

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Unemployment and Disability Benefits

There's no rule that says a person receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits can't get unemployment compensation. However, disability benefits are primarily for people unable to work, and you must be able to work to get unemployment. Thus, the reasons that qualify you for one type of benefit may disqualify you from getting the other. There is a middle ground, however. Some people with disabilities can do a limited amount of work and still qualify for Social Security. Since they can work, they may qualify for unemployment. Again, there are a few states that impose an offset reduction in unemployment compensation.