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Social Security Disability, the CARES Act, and Unemployment

Updated: Mar 30

We find that a large number of our current and potential clients have questions on whether other sources of income will affect their eligibility for Social Security Disability Benefits. Such instances of income may include the CARES Act stimulus check and unemployment benefits. Though these benefits will not affect your eligibility for SSI/SSDI benefits, they may affect the amount you receive.

How Does the CARES Act Affect My SSI/SSDI Benefits?


The CARES Act, passed in March of 2020, provided a full amount of $1200 per adult and $500 per dependent to individuals with and without disabilities, including those on SSI and/or SSDI. To receive these benefits automatically, you needed to have filed a 2018 or 2019 federal tax return. You would still receive this benefit if you hadn’t filed a tax return in those years, but you would have had to fill out additional paperwork, including Social Security beneficiaries.


For those on Social Security Disability (SSI and SSDI), these payments will not affect your disability benefit amount if you are already receiving disability benefits. It will NOT affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits either. For those receiving SSI benefits, the payments will not count as income or additional resources.


As of December 2020, Congress passed an emergency economic relief bill that will provide individuals making less than $75,000 a year another check for $600. It will follow the same stipulations as the initial relief check.


How Does Unemployment Affect My SSI/SSDI Benefits?


It is legal to draw SSDI and unemployment benefits without affecting the amounts received from the other program. However, if you are receiving unemployment and are awarded SSI, your unemployment benefits WILL reduce the amount you receive monthly through SSI.


While it is legal to draw from both of these programs, it can be tricky to do so, because the key criteria from these programs are fundamentally at odds.


For example:

  • In order to collect unemployment, you must be actively looking for work.

  • In order to collect SSD, you must be unable to work.

Collecting unemployment and applying for Social Security Disability can be a tricky situation for anyone. You may, for example, be able to work, but only in a very specific capacity due to your disabilities, and those jobs are difficult to find. Say you need frequent breaks to lie down, or need to work at a slower pace than average; you may be able to find an employer who is willing to accommodate those needs, but it will be difficult to find them.


Find a Disability Attorney Near Me


It is often difficult to give simple advice regarding unemployment and Social Security Disability. We would recommend applying for both and then contacting a trusted Social Security law firm like Kapor | Davis & Associates.


Our experienced team of Social Security Disability lawyers will answer your questions, work out the details of your specific case, and help you get the support you and your loved ones deserve.


To get started, contact us for a consultation.

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