How to Receive SSI Disability Benefits & Unemployment in Washington State

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SSI disability recipients are allowed to work in a limited capacity without penalty.
SSI disability recipients are allowed to work in a limited capacity without penalty. (Image: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Washington state does allow certain individuals to claim both SSI disability benefits and unemployment at the same time. In order to do so, you must meet the requirements of both programs. The primary hurdle you'll need to overcome is adhering to the work requirements mandated by the unemployment program, while still qualifying for disability. In order to legally qualify for unemployment benefits, you have to be able to truthfully say that you are able, willing and available for work. If your disability completely prevents you from working, you won't be able to claim both.

File your unemployment claim. You can file your claim online by submitting your application on the Washington State Employment Security Department website (see Resources). You can also file your claim over the phone by calling 800-318-6022. Unemployment applications are generally approved within a couple of weeks and payments received shortly thereafter.

File your SSI disability claim. You can file your claim online by submitting your application on the Social Security website (see Resources). You can also file your claim over the phone by calling 800-772-1213. When asked about your current income, say you're receiving unemployment benefits and disclose the amount. SSI disability applications can take an average of three to five months to get approved so you'll probably be only receiving unemployment for at least the first few months.

Claim your disability payments on your unemployment claim when you start receiving them. Washington state has claimants certify on a weekly basis for unemployment. When asked if you earned any income, say yes and disclose the amount of your SSI disability payment. When asked if you're able, willing and available for work, you must also say yes. If you're not able to truthfully say yes to this question, your unemployment benefits will end at this point.

Accept any viable job offers that come your way. If you fail to accept decent job offers in your line of work, your unemployment benefits may end. Similarly, if the job offer you accept pays a substantial amount of money, you may lose your SSI disability benefits. The Social Security Administration generally considers wages over $1,000 per month substantial on these types of claims.

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