Can You Collect Unemployment and Social Security?

by Andy Hough on September 8, 2010

With the unemployment rate being so high many people are wondering whether they can collect Social Security and unemployment benefits. The simple answer is yes. You can collect both unemployment and Social Security retirement benefits. However, in five states – Illinois, Louisiana, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia – your unemployment benefits are reduced when you are receiving Social Security retirement benefits. Most of these have a 50 percent offset which means for every dollar in Social Security retirement benefits you receive your unemployment benefit is reduced by 50 cents. This could result in one’s unemployment benefits being reduced to zero.

Since many states are paying out a lot in unemployment benefits and are looking for ways to reduce their expenses it is possible that more states will pass offset laws. You should check with your state to see if it has an offset law.

{ 6 comments }

Nancy Solomon March 28, 2011 at 2:29 am

As of March 2011, only Illinois and Louisiana still practice state-sanctioned age discrimination.

Lionel Raymond July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

The Repeal of the Virginia “Offset” law concerning Social Security, Railroad Pensions and Unemployment Benefits that went into effect July 1, 2001, is based on the underlying premise that it is not fair (or legal?) to discriminate against one class (Social Security recipients) or age group (again, Social Security recipients along with Railroad Pensioners). If it is “not fair” after July 1st, then it is “not fair” before July 1st.
Currently the VEC is collecting “overpayments” made prior to July 1st and subsequent to January , 2010 when the “50% offset” portion of VA 60-2.604 went into effect. The VEC’s poor accounting and IT system did not pick up the Senior Citizens of Virginia involved in the “50% offset” in a timely manner. As result, the VEC now, under the pretext of “law”, is requiring these Senior Citizens of Virginia to repay the overpayments. This repayment is being requested from the Senior Citizens of Virginia who were unaware of the law’s technicalities, or the law itself. These same Senior Citizens, unaware of the law and its ramifications, have spent the unemployment funds for the necessities of life, home, food, medical, and are not in the position to repay money paid before July 1st…the “date of fairness”. Worse, the money paid to them after July 1st will be withheld in total or in part, to satisfy any “overpayment” in their “VEC Account”.
If you are one of these Senior Citizens of Virginia who are currently in a “repayment of overpayments” or are a Social Security recipient that had their unemployment benefits reduced by the “50% offset” provision that was repealed as of July 1, 2011, please e-mail me at sraym613@comcast.net. We want to gather enough “force” to make the Commonwealth of Virginia, first, SUSPEND the “repayment of overpayments” immediately***, second, address the withholding of 50% of unemployment benefits prior to July 1st and subsequent to the “50% offset” provision going into effect (Jan , 2010) and the payment of those funds unfairly withheld, third, return the recovered overpayments to the Senior Citizens of Virginia as funds “unfairly” collected. Forward a copy of your e-mail to you Delegate and Senator. ALL OF THEM VOTED FOR THE REPEAL. There is no reason that having done half of a good thing, they cannot do the remaining right thing. If you do not know your Delegate or Senator’s e-mail address…tell me in the e-mail and I will forward it to them.
It only took 120 Senior Citizens of Virginia to get the “50% offset repealed!!! There are as many as 34,000 Senior Citizens of Virginia who are affected by this provision on both sides of July 1, 2011. ALL must be heard and heeded.
*** We want to suspend “repayment of overpayments” so that Virginia does not incurred added expense of having to return money unfairly withheld if an addendum to HB2357 and SB 1113 finds the period of pre-July 1, 2011 to be unfair also. The suspension of the “repayment of overpayments” program, if found to be unacceptable by the legislature, could be re-started for less expense than sending out Commonwealth checks for payments of “overpayments” collected. The VEC accounting system, 30 years old and incapable of handling current requirements, including the ramifications of the 50% offset, by their own admission, would only compound the problems created by insufficient consideration of the overall implications of the “50% offset rule of 60.2-604.

David L Price July 11, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I am 65 years old and retired when I was 62, I than took a part-time job with a company. I have been with them for three years but they are starting to let people go. So can I collect unemployment benefits and my Social Security. I live in the State of Calif. Thanking you in advance, David Price

Andy Hough July 12, 2011 at 4:12 pm

After a quick search it doesn’t appear that California has an offset law. You should be able to collect your unemployment and Social Security. I would advise to check with your unemployment office though in case there are changes that I am unaware of.

james f zeug October 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm

i worked full time with my company and retired they wanted me to stay on and work part time which i did and after 20months they hired another person to replace me full time and i am able to collect unemployment they told me i could work as long as i wanted then fired me after i trained my replacement

Barbara August 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

I am collecting full benefits for s/s because I am 69 years old. I may be laid off very soon. Can I collect unemployment and s/s benefits at the same time? Does unemployment take into consideration my s/s income or not?

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