Can I get unemployment and a pension at the same time?


Q. I worked for company “A” for 25+ years and I have a pension that was frozen in 2002. Because of mergers, I finally left Company “A” in 2015. I now work for Company “B.” If I get laid off from Company “B” and receive unemployment, will the pension from Company “A” affect my benefit?
— Still working

A. Sorry to hear your job may be at risk.

Let’s start by saying that you need to speak directly to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development because the details of your pension could impact your benefits.

From the agency’s website: “Certain company pensions or other type of retirement benefits are offset against unemployment compensation benefits. If the base-year employer and worker contributed to the cost of the pension, the unemployment insurance payment will be reduced by an amount equal to half of the pension amount. If a base-year employer paid the entire cost, the full pension payment will be deducted. If the worker paid the whole cost of the pension, no deduction will be made. Social Security pension income is not offset against unemployment benefits.”

So what does that mean?

Base period earnings determine eligibility, said Stephen Craffen, a certified financial planner with Stonegate Wealth Management in Oakland.

He said your base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters before you filed for benefits.

“Since your pension is from a job held prior to your base period, unemployment compensation should not be affected,” Craffen said. “If the pension is from the current employer, the argument is that it’s essentially a continuation of pay, similar to deferred compensation.”

We recommend that you get the details on the pension – who made the contributions – and take that information directly to the agency so you can get advice specific to the details of your situation.

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This story was originally published on July 2, 2019. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.