Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported that President Barack Obama’s 2015 fiscal budget proposal features changes that may affect the disabled.
According to the Times, the proposal has a cutoff for people who have Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and are collecting unemployment benefits at the same time.
The budget proposal refers to the plan as a “reform”, and would not allow a person to collect SSDI if they received unemployment benefits, which only occurs in rare situations.
It is estimated that the proposal would save about $1 billion in payments to recipients over the next 10 years.
As the Times noted, by law disabled beneficiaries can earn up to $1,070 per month in wages this year without jeopardizing their benefits. Some politicians and advocacy groups are speaking out about the proposal, saying that SSDI is suppose to be a bridge to full-time employment, and is not intended to be a substitute for wages, like unemployment.
“While rare, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance is consistent and appropriate when eligibility requirements for both programs are met. Such is the long-standing position of the Social Security Administration and the courts,” the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) said in a press release. “These benefits serve as nothing short of a lifeline for workers with disabilities and their families – buffering them against great hardship in the event that they lose their job through no fault of their own, while testing their ability to return to work. Any reduction in benefits would unfairly single out disabled workers receiving Social Security for differential treatment under the Unemployment Insurance program.”
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) also released a statement saying it “strongly opposed” the proposed cuts.
Can I Collect Social Security Disability and Unemployment at the Same Time?
It is very rare that a person can collect SSDI and unemployment benefits at the same time. As of January 2014, only about 117,000 Americans received both forms of benefits.
It should be noted when someone collects SSDI and unemployment benefits at the same time, problems can arise, as there are some states that require repayment for unemployment compensation if a person received any form of income (including SSDI) while receiving unemployment.
According to the Times, the average monthly disability benefit was about $1,130 last year and the average unemployment check $1,200, which combined puts a household below the poverty line for a family of four.
If you have questions about qualifying for SSDI, we suggest you visit our Social Security FAQ page. If you have questions about an application for disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact our Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers for a free evaluation of your case. You may also reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers
Troutman Touts: As of December 2013, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent, tying it for the 13th lowest rate in the country.