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Can You Collect Both Social Security Disability and Unemployment in Arkansas

Social Security disability benefits and Unemployment benefits traditionally serve different groups of people: those who can work but can’t find a job, versus those who are unable to work. As such, while it is unusual for individuals to qualify for both, it is not impossible. Individuals who collect some disability because they are able to work but only in a limited capacity, can also find themselves suddenly out of a job. In this situation, they may qualify to collect both Social Security Disability benefits, as well as Unemployment benefits.

What is Social Security Disability (SSD)?

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are some of the largest Federal programs in the country. They provide assistance to those individuals who are suffering from disabilities that prevent them from working. You can only qualify for eligibility by proving that you are unable to work full-time for at least a year or more and that you have already accrued enough work credits to qualify for SSD. Your condition must interfere with work-related activities and must meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

One of the main requirements of collecting SSD benefits is that you must be unable to perform “substantial gainful activity” for at least one year. This does not mean that you can’t make any money working, however. As long as you are making less than $1,180 per month then you would still continue to qualify for SSD benefits.

 What is Unemployment?

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal-state program that provides temporary assistance to those individuals who find themselves suddenly out of a job. These benefits provide temporary partial wage replacement for individuals who have been released from their job through no fault of their own. There is an upper limit to the amount of benefits an individual can qualify for each week, as well as a limit to the number of months they are allowed to receive these benefits. Employees with higher wages may receive a higher benefit check, but it is typically a smaller percentage of what they used to earn.

If you’ve lost your job, you may be able to collect unemployment benefits while you are out of work. However, each state sets guidelines that determine whether an individual is eligible for benefits and how much compensation they will receive. In Arkansas, you must have earned a minimum amount of wages before you were unemployed and be unemployed through no fault of your own. In addition, you must be available and able to work and actively seeking employment to qualify for benefits. If you are eligible for unemployment, your weekly benefit rate is 1/26 of your earnings – currently a minimum of $81 a week and a maximum of $451 a week.

How Can You Receive Both Benefits at the Same Time?

The Social Security Administration does not deny an individual the ability to collect both SSD benefits and Unemployment benefits. Since eligibility for unemployment benefits hinges on your ability to be “ready and able to work” at any given time and SSD benefit eligibility hinges on your ability not to be able to work, these two are often mutually exclusive. Exceptions do exist, however. If you attempted to re-enter the workforce through the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program or if you previously worked full-time but are now only able to work part-time due to medical restrictions, you may be able to qualify for both sets of benefits.

The Ticket to Work Program is a program that lets individuals with disabilities test their ability to re-enter the workforce. Individuals have nine months to determine if they are able to work in some capacity, while still keeping their SSD benefits. If an individual worked in this program for less than 9 months but was suddenly laid off, then they may qualify for both unemployment benefits and SSD benefits.

With a qualified attorney on your side, you may be able to prove your eligibility for both types of benefits. Yet, you may face repercussions for “double dipping” if you are unable to make a solid case for receiving both benefits at the same time.

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