Lomita, CA asked in Social Security for California

Q: Can / Should I apply for SSDI while collecting unemployment?

Presently I am receiving unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 loss of business, and later will want to apply for SSDI.

My question- should I collect as much as possible in unemployment and only then apply for SSDI, or I can apply for SSDI now, while collecting unemployment?

I'll appreciate any suggestions, recommendations.

Thank you.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It takes a great deal of time, and it is not easy to qualify for, SSDI benefits. To get unemployment insurance benefits you need to certify that you are ready, willing and able to work full time, and that you are seeking full time employment. To qualify for SSDI benefits you need to establish that you are incapable of working. The two are mutually exclusive. You cannot qualify for one while legitimately receiving the other.

If you are totally disabled, you should apply for California State Disability Insurance, which if you qualify you can get for up to a year. Then immediately start the process of procuring SSDI benefits. It could take you the full year to qualify for SSDI while you are collecting SDI.

Applying for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits is taking an action entirely inconsistent with what you have to prove to get SSDI.

It would be wise for you to locate and consult with a Social Security attorney.

Good luck to you.

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