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Beware double-dipping when receiving Social Security Disability benefits

Read this article to learn whether you can claim both SSDI and unemployment benefits.

It is stressful to be out of work. Bills come in whether or not you have the ability or opportunity to work. It can be tempting to seek out all potential sources of income, including both California Unemployment Insurance and Social Security Disability benefits. However, the two programs are largely mutually exclusive. In other words, if you receive one, the other is probably unavailable.

This is because with Social Security Disability payments, you are essentially telling the government you cannot work because of a disability. For unemployment benefits, you are telling the state government that you are willing and able to work but cannot currently find employment.

However, there is no hard-line rule that Social Security disability benefits preclude other types of benefits, including unemployment. In 2013, a bill in Congress that would have prevented anyone in the country from receiving both failed to pass. And there are limited circumstances under which a California resident could receive both. Still, the SSA or an administrative law judge can factor the application for unemployment into the decision of whether you qualify for SSDI. That means applying for both should be done carefully, if at all. When it doubt, it is best to contact an experienced SSDI attorney to discuss your situation.

If you receive unemployment benefits while on SSDI you may have to pay back the state for the unemployment benefits you received.

Other assistance programs

While unemployment and SSDI are programs targeted at different population groups, some kinds of government assistance work well with an SSDI application. For example, it is acceptable to receive CalFresh (Food Stamps) while applying for SSDI benefits without it negatively affecting your application. If you qualify, you can remain on CalFresh while receiving SSDI checks. In fact, if you are disabled, as defined by receiving SSDI, you can deduct some medical expenses from your income to qualify for CalFresh.

In addition, Med-Cal, California's Medicaid program is also available to applicants and those receiving SSDI benefits. After you receive disability benefits for two years, you will be eligible for Medicare.

If you receive workers' compensation payments for your disability, you may have your SSDI payments reduced.

Contact an attorney

At The Disability Rights Law Center, attorney Alex Boudov is familiar with the various government assistance programs available to disabled individuals seeking SSDI benefits. Contact The Disability Rights Law Center for help in applying for SSDI.

Keywords: SSDI, Social Security Disability, unemployment insurance, double dipping, penalties.

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