Multiple bills have been introduced this Congressional session that seek to reduce benefits for people receiving both Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time.
SSDI is available for people with substantial limitations on their ability to work due to their disabilities. To encourage people receiving SSDI to continue to pursue employment opportunities, beneficiaries can earn up to $1,090 per month, while maintaining eligibility.
Unemployment insurance is available to people who lose employment due to no fault of their own. Fewer than one percent of SSDI beneficiaries simultaneously receive UI benefits, according to the Government Accountability Office in a 2012 report.
Under the Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act of 2015, people receiving UI benefits would be deemed to have participated in “substantial gainful activity” and thus be ineligible for SSDI.
In addition, the advocates argued the bill would have the unintended effect of imposing new employment barriers to people with disabilities.
“Proposed cuts to concurrent benefits create new disincentives to work for SSDI beneficiaries, by penalizing individuals who qualify for both SSDI and UI because they have attempted to work, as encouraged by law,” the letter states. “The creation of a new work disincentive runs directly counter to our shared goal of expanding employment opportunities for people with disabilities.”