If you’re eligible for partial unemployment and Social Security benefits, you can get both at the same time. You can also get Supplemental Security Income benefits while collecting unemployment. However, there is a chance that your Social Security benefits will affect your unemployment benefits and vice versa.
Unemployment and Social Security
If you’re already collecting Social Security benefits, your partial unemployment payments won’t affect your benefit amount. The SSA doesn’t count unemployment against its earnings test. But if you’re already getting unemployment, your benefits may be decreased when you start collecting Social Security. This depends on the state you live in. For instance, Pennsylvania doesn’t reduce your unemployment if you’re getting Social Security, but in Minnesota, you can lose 50 percent of your unemployment when you get Social Security disability or retirement payments.
Unemployment and Supplemental Security Income
Your partial unemployment benefits do affect your SSI payments. Under the SSI program, unemployment benefits are one of several types of unearned income that are considered countable income. If your partial unemployment benefits are substantial enough, you can lose your SSI benefit eligibility.
How Much Will Benefits be Affected?
The SSA uses a formula to calculate your SSI benefits with the addition of countable income such as unemployment. As of 2012, the first $20 of your unemployment is not counted against your benefits. The remainder of your unemployment reduces your SSI benefits dollar-for-dollar. For example, if you get $150 per month in unemployment and your SSI benefit is the maximum federal rate of $698 per month as of 2012, your SSI benefits will be lowered by $130.
Several states supplement the SSI federal benefit rate with additional monthly payments. For example, if you live in Florida, you can get up to $78 per month as of 2012. Your unemployment benefits won’t affect your state SSI payments.