Should I File for Unemployment or Social Security Disability?

We want to address this question because there are very big differences between unemployment and Social Security Disability (SSDI). And with the recent rise in unemployment, we feel it’s important to understand why these are very different programs. However, it comes down to your health and finances. Learn more about if you should be filing for unemployment or Social Security Disability below.

Filing for Unemployment

When you apply for unemployment, you are confirming your desire to work and you actively seek work. Unfortunately, due to varied circumstances, you are unable to find a suitable job. This could be because you were laid off, or as of recently, furloughed. Many Americans are finding themselves in a similar situation. Having the ability to work makes a big difference between unemployment and Social Security Disability. Nothing is stopping you from working, except for the availability of a position.

Unemployment is state-based, unlike SSDI. This means the rules that govern unemployment change from state-to-state. While it does vary, generally employees not fired for misconduct are eligible for unemployment benefits. Many states also require that you have worked for at least 3 months in the previous year. Make sure to check your state unemployment benefits eligibility requirements before applying.

Filing for Social Security Disability

In contrast to unemployment, Social Security Disability is for those who are unable to work due to their health impairment. Therefore, they are not capable of having a job, even if there are jobs available. It’s important to note that all health issues do not qualify for SSDI. It would need to be a health condition that causes an individual to be unable to work for the long-haul, not just temporarily.

Unlike unemployment being state-run, Social Security Disability is a federally-run program. It might seem quite obvious the difference between the two. However, if you are considering between the two, then we recommend consulting your doctor and getting an evaluation of your current health condition. By applying for SSDI benefits, you are claiming you are unable to have gainful employment as a result of your health, even if jobs are available. Contrary unemployment means that you can work, however, there just are no opportunities available to you.

Next Steps

While health should be your main concern, we would be remiss not to mention the financial impact. Unemployment is temporary. You still have the potential to find a new opportunity and grow your income throughout your career. Being approved for Social Security Disability is saying that you cannot work. It is a set monthly payment. These payments are meant to help but you may still need additional financial assistance.

If you are currently unemployed but feel your health may hinder your ability to work, contact us today. You can also start by filling out our eligibility form.