Can I Draw Unemployment Insurance after Disability?

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You do not qualify for unemployment benefits if you are unable to work.
You do not qualify for unemployment benefits if you are unable to work. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Disability and unemployment insurance are two different insurance programs. Eligibility for one program in no way determines eligibility for the other. In fact, in most circumstances, eligibility for disability insurance may disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits. However, if you have only been on disability for a short time and you still meet the legal and financial requirements for unemployment benefits, you may still qualify.

Disability Insurance

According to the Social Security Agency, a 20-year-old worker has a 3 in 10 chance of becoming disabled before he retires. This probably has a lot to do with the reason why the Social Security Agency, which funds disability insurance, is one of the largest federal programs in the United States. To receive Social Security disability benefits you must be unable to work due to a medical condition that will either last for a year or result in death.

Unemployment Insurance

The unemployment insurance program is designed to provide benefits to workers who are no longer employed due to no fault of their own. The program is funded by both state and federal funds, and the rules that govern the program in each state vary.

Able to Work

Another general eligibility requirement for the unemployment insurance program is to be able to work. This means you must be reasonably fit and able accept a job position. Therefore, if you come off disability benefits but are still not able to return to work, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you stop receiving disability payments because you have recovered and still meet the other eligibility criteria of the unemployment insurance agency in your state, you can apply. If you do not meet this requirements, there are other programs, such as the Supplemental Security Income program, you can apply for.

Financial Requirements

To qualify for unemployment benefits you must also meet the income requirements of the state where you apply for unemployment compensation. The income requirement is assessed from your earnings during your base period. This includes the first four of the last five completed quarters since you file your claim. For instance, in Wisconsin, you must have earned an income at least $1,890 during your base period to qualify. This requirement applies regardless of if you have been receiving disability benefits or not.

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