The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded each state’s ability to provide unemployment benefits for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment. For disability beneficiaries collecting SSDI benefits, the CARES Act allows them to collect unemployment benefits if they lost their job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can work part-time while you receive SSDI benefits as long as you are not engaged in what Social Security calls “substantial gainful activity.” In 2020, Social Security defines substantial gainful activity as earning more than $1,260 per month. If your income does not exceed this cap, you can continue to collect Social Security disability benefits and collect an income from part-time work.
In some states, like Wisconsin and North Carolina, unemployment benefits are not available for SSDI recipients. These states have continued to deny the COVID-19 unemployment benefits to those who are on SSDI and were laid-off during the COVID-19 pandemic.
All other SSDI recipients who lost their job during the COVID 19-pandemic, including our clients in California and Hawaii, can still collect unemployment benefits. California’s Employment Development Department pays benefits to workers who have lost their job, whether or not they receive SSDI benefits. In fact, Social Security benefits do not need to be reported to California’s Employment Development Department.