A person who collects social security cannot normally collect unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are intended to help a person survive between his jobs. Social security benefits are given to people who have reached retirement age or cannot work. Rarely does a person become eligible to both. It can happen if a person who is 65 years old gets laid off before he can retire. When a person does get social security, he must report this change to the unemployment office.
The right to collect unemployment benefits goes away when a person gets social security benefits. The rules of unemployment compensation require a person to be available for work and actively looking for work. If a recipient receives social security disability benefits, that person is not looking for work and the unemployment program will remove him from its roles automatically. The issue of social security and unemployment benefits becomes more complicated when a person gets supplemental benefits rather than disability benefits. The regular questionnaire only asks if the recipient is looking for work and is available for work. An employee who becomes eligible for social security benefits can still collect both checks.
If a recipient does not know if he can collect social security and unemployment benefits at the same time, he should ask a representative at either agency. Legal counsel is not usually needed. The representative will tell the client know about all of the issues involved, what the reporting issues for each program are, and what the consequences of not properly following the rules for each program are. A recipient who fails to follow the rules can face severe legal repercussions. The most common repercussion is losing the benefits and having to pay undeserved benefits back.