As it’s written, the law allows those eligible to collect both Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits at the same time. However, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that could change this by decreasing the SSDI benefits for each month an individual receives UI benefits.
It is the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) policy to factor the receipt of UI benefits into making disability determinations. However, it is just one of many factors that the SSA considers in making these decisions and does not render a claimant ineligible for disability benefits.
In 2012, Congress asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study UI/SSDI benefit overlap in order to determine whether or not overlapping benefits were awarded legitimately. In order to do this, the GAO reviewed a number of cases in which individuals received both types of benefits and found that in some cases, the receipt of overlapping benefits indicated “improper payments.” However, the SSA reviewed the same cases used in the GAO’s study and rejected the GAO’s conclusions, finding that none of the cases studied featured wrongfully awarded benefits.
The SSA maintains that UI/SSDI benefit overlap is legal, and furthermore, that in and of itself, does not indicate wrongful payment.