unemployment benefits

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits at the Same Time?

If you cannot work in Michigan due to a disability, you may be wondering if you can receive both unemployment benefits and social security disability benefits simultaneously. 

The answer is Yes, you can. When collecting unemployment insurance, this does not exclude you from receiving Social Security retirement benefits or the other way around. However, the eligibility requirements of unemployment benefits and SSDI compete against one another. As such, it’s important to consult with an experienced Michigan SSDI attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and options.

Unemployment Benefits in Michigan

To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan, an applicant must meet several requirements that mirror federal guidelines, for example:

  • The applicant must have been employed before applying for benefits
  • At the time of application, the applicant must be unemployed
  • Separation from employment must not be through the fault of the applicant

Of additional and critical importance is that the applicant must also be “able, available for, and actively seeking suitable full-time work.” This instruction is where the complication arises for those hoping to collect both unemployment and SSDI benefits. 

To better understand the conflict, let’s examine Social Security Disability Insurance guidelines.

Social Security Disability Benefits

Applicants filing for SSDI benefits must meet the requirements of a defined disability that prohibits them from being able to work at substantial gainful activity levels. 

The primary requirements when filing for SSDI in Michigan are:

  • The applicant is unable to work at substantial gainful activity level because of their medical condition or defined disability;
  • The applicant is unable to do the work they did before becoming disabled, as well as other work;
  • The disability is a long-term disability lasting or expected to last one year or more, is a permanent disability, or is a disability that is likely to result in death. 

If the applicant’s condition prevents them from doing the work they did before, but they can do other work, [they] may not have a qualifying disability. However, there are narrow exceptions to this rule, based primarily on age, and an experienced disability attorney can help you understand whether an exception applies in your case as well as evidence needed to support your claim.

The Conflict Between Michigan Unemployment Benefits and Michigan SSDI 

An SSDI applicant must affirm they have a disability preventing them from working. As such, this affirmation directly contradicts unemployment requirements demanding applicants are willing and able to work.  

While a person may legally apply for benefits with both agencies, they should be mindful that government agencies often share data. The inherent conflict of filing for both Michigan SSDI and unemployment benefits may bring into question the applicant’s credibility, resulting in a denial of benefits. 

Nevertheless, when a person applies for both and is approved for both, they must inform Michigan’s Unemployment Department and SSA. There is a possibility that unemployment benefits may be reduced, or they may be forced to repay some or all of the benefits received.

How Can a Michigan SSDI Lawyer Help?

If you’re thinking of applying for both unemployment and SSDI benefits in Michigan, it’s a good idea to speak with a Michigan SSDI attorney first. 

A qualified SSDI benefits attorney can advise you regarding the guidelines of Michigan unemployment benefits and Michigan SSDI, how to apply for the benefits you can qualify for, and what legal risks may be associated with applying for benefits from both agencies. 

Contact our Michigan law office today to speak with an experienced SSDI attorney about your situation. Our consultations are always free and disability is all we do.