Can I Collect Unemployment if Terminated While on Disability?

Navigating the workforce when you have a disability is challenging. Sometimes, you’re ready to work but your injury prevents it. Other times, your body is healthy, but no work is available that’s suitable for you.

And sometimes, everything seems to be working against you. For example, you’re terminated while already out on Disability. If this happens, can you collect both unemployment and Disability at the same time?

No, you can almost never collect both at the same time, and here’s why. You qualify for Disability based on the fact that you can’t work. You qualify for unemployment based on the fact that you can work, but haven’t found anything suitable yet. If you were already out on Disability, it’s highly unlikely you can meet the qualifications for unemployment benefits at the same time.

Aside from the rare exception, then, you cannot “double dip” and collect unemployment benefits if you were terminated while on Disability.

If I’m Terminated While Injured, Can I Get Short Term Disability and Unemployment One After the Other?

Yes, depending on your circumstances. Imagine you are on short-term Disability while you recover from an injury. Fortunately, you heal in full. Unfortunately, you were terminated while out, involuntarily and through no fault of your own. Once you are fully recovered and ready to get back to work, you can start interviewing for a new job. Unfortunately, just because you’re available does not mean you’ll be able to quickly find a job that suits your skillset. While you are searching, you may be eligible for unemployment.

Does Disability Count as Income for Unemployment?

In general, Disability is unearned income and unearned income isn’t counted for unemployment purposes. However, in this instance, it’s not a question of how much Disability you’re receiving or whether it’s countable or not. As discussed, being on Disability disqualifies you from getting unemployment in almost every instance. However, you can be eligible for first one and then the other.

Every situation is unique and the small details make all the difference. If you need to apply for Social Security Disability or have been denied, have your case evaluated by a skilled attorney – absolutely free. Just call 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online.

About the Author

Rick Fleming practices Social Security Disability law at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. In addition to heading up the firm’s Social Security Disability Department, he is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law and fluent in English and Spanish. Rick has received multiple Order of Service awards from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and he is an active board member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). He currently holds the board-elected position of NOSSCR Treasurer, after completing a year serving as the organization’s Secretary.