Harbor City, CA asked in Public Benefits and Social Security for California

Q: Applying for SSDI after receiving Unemployment assistance?

I have a progressing illness which qualifies me for SSDI.

Now I lost my job because of COVID-19.

I am planning to collect my unemployment now and then, if no luck finding a job that I can do (if any), I will apply for SSDI.

My question: Can (will) the fact of me receiving unemployment payment today affect my future application for SSDI?

Thank you.

2 Lawyer Answers
Nancy J. Wallace
Nancy J. Wallace
  • Grand Terrace, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: EDD has Unemployment Insurance or State Disability Insurance (SDI). Self employed do not get UI. Self employed do not get SDI (it's a deduction on workers checks ). Social Security Disability ftom the Federal govt is a possibility. But it requires doctors writing you cannot work, and it takes nearly a year.

Susan Michele Schaefer
Susan Michele Schaefer
  • Social Security Disability Lawyer
  • Prattville, AL

A: Receiving unemployment will not affect your future application for SSDI. In fact, you can receive both unemployment benefits and SSDI benefits at the same time even though there is a contradiction in applying for and receiving both unemployment benefits and SSDI benefits. When you apply for unemployment benefits, you are stating that you lost your job through no fault of your own, that you are ABLE to work and are actively looking for work. When you apply for SSDI, you are stating that you are UNABLE to do any substantial gainful work activity.

Because of the length of time between applying for SSDI and getting a disability decision, and the uncertainty of unemployment benefit extensions, you may decide to take a practical approach and file for SSDI while on unemployment. One example is when a person who was laid off due to COVID-19 applies for and receives unemployment benefits. While receiving unemployment and actively looking for work, the person decides to apply for SSDI due to a worsened physical condition and then becomes approved for SSDI while still receiving unemployment benefits. This example sounds very close to what you are experiencing. For more information see my blog article on this topic at https://cardeadisabilityllc.com/can-i-get-both-unemployment-and-social-security-disability-benefits/.

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