Q: Can you collect unemployment when you are on disability and looking for a job you can do
A: Yes, you can receive both unemployment benefits and Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).
Unemployment and SSDI benefits both provide financial support to those who are not working, but the rules for these programs differ greatly. You should be aware that 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. That being said, Social Security encourages those individuals receiving SSDI to try to return to work and offers work incentives. Two important work incentives are:
Trial Work Period (TWP) – During the TWP, you can work and still keep your full monthly SSDI check. The TWP lasts for 9 months in a 60-month timeframe.
Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) – After the TWP, there is an EPE during which you can receive your full SSDI check for any month on which you were not able to earn substantial gainful activity. The EPE lasts for up to a 36-month timeframe.
For more information about these and other work incentives, as well as other work options, see http://www.ssa.gov/redbook and go to https://choosework.ssa.gov.
If you are receiving SSDI payments and work for an amount of time to establish your eligibility for unemployment benefits before being laid off, you are still entitled to SSDI under a work incentive program and you may also be qualify for unemployment compensation.
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