27 May Can I get Social Security and unemployment at the same time?
Q. Can you collect Social Security retirement and unemployment at the same time?
— Out of work now
A. The simple answer to your question is yes.
You can collect Social Security benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time.
Any benefits you receive from unemployment will not affect your Social Security benefits, said Kenneth Van Leeuwen, a certified financial planner with Van Leeuwen & Company in Princeton.
“This is because Social Security does not count unemployment benefits as earnings, so you don’t have to worry about unemployment benefits potentially lowering your Social Security benefits,” he said. “If you meet the requirements to collect both unemployment and Social Security benefits, you can collect both at the same time.”
As you work and pay Social Security taxes, you earn “credits” toward Social Security benefits, he said.
“The minimum credits you need to qualify for benefits is 40, or 10 years of work,” he said. “The benefit payment is based on how much you earned during your career.”
The earliest you can collect Social Security retirement benefits is 62, however your benefit at that age will be lower than if you waited until full retirement age or even delayed benefits to age 70, Van Leeuwen said.
To qualify for unemployment, you must meet a minimum earnings requirement during your “base period,” which is the timeframe used to determine your eligibility and to calculate your benefit amount, he said.
“The regular base period consists of 52 weeks and is determined by the date you apply for benefits,” he said. “For example, if your claim is dated between Jan. 2020 and March 2020, your claim is based on your employment between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019.”
To be eligible, you must have earned at least $200 per week during 20 or more weeks during the base year period, or you must have earned at least $10,000 during that same period, Van Leeuwen said.
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This story was originally published on May 27, 2020.
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