The Ongoing Struggle Over Concurrent Benefits
For some time, there has been debate in Congress over the issue of concurrent receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. Many in Congress have sought to reduce SSDI benefits for someone if that person has also received UI benefits during the same time period, claiming that receipt of both types of benefits is contradictory since SSDI beneficiaries must prove their inability to work, while UI beneficiaries must prove both their ability and availability to work.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows concurrent receipt of benefits and notes that differences between the SSDI and UI programs do not render them contradictory. According to SSA policy, an individual’s receipt of UI benefits is but one factor, among many, to be considered when deciding whether or not to award that person SSDI benefits as well.
Current efforts to halt concurrent receipt of benefits include:
-Provisions in the President’s proposed SSA budget, including the one for fiscal year (FY 2016), to reduce SSDI benefits in cases where UI benefits have been received.
-The Reducing Overlapping Payments Act: this bipartisan Senate bill would cut SSDI benefits to “zero” for recipients of UI benefits during all months when the latter are received.
-The Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act: these bills, which exist in both the House and the Senate, would not only reduce concurrent receipt of benefits, but would also alter eligibility by recognizing each month of concurrent receipt as a combined month of work/trial work period month.
Numerous Social Security/disability advocacy groups such as the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and various member groups of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) have joined forces to oppose such legislation. Their efforts are currently underway.