Lawmakers in both the House and Senate introduced legislation this week designed to prevent people from receiving both Social Security disability benefits (DI) and unemployment benefits (UI) at the same time.
Known as the The Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Benefits Double Dip Elimination Act of 2015, the bill was introduced by Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sam Johnson (R-TX).
Hatch and Johnson noted that President Obama proposed something similar in his 2016 budget with an estimated savings of $2 billion over 10 years. His proposal in the budget suggested reducing the DI benefit in any month UI benefits are also received, in order to eliminate the concurrent benefit payment.
Key aspects of the legislation include:
- It would affect only those applying for benefits on or after January 1, 2016.
- Affects only people applying for DI benefits and receiving unemployment benefits (UI or TAA). They are deemed to be engaging in substantial gainful activity and are therefore ineligible for DI benefits.
- Once receiving DI benefits, any month in which unemployment benefits are received will be considered part of the Trial Work Period.
According to a statement from Hatch and Johnson, the savings of the legislation as estimated by a Social Security actuary would be $5.7 billion over 10 years.
“This is an idea that even the President himself outlined in his most recent budget,” said Hatch. “By closing this loophole that allows for individuals to qualify for both disability and unemployment, we can reduce duplicative spending, as the President’s budget recognizes, and preserve benefits for those that need them most.”
Johnson added, “Even though disability benefits are for those who can’t work and unemployment benefits are for those who can work, under current law someone can receive both benefits at the same time. That just doesn’t make sense. This commonsense legislation ends this double dipping and preserves Social Security benefits for only those who truly cannot work.”
See also: Kicking the SSDI Can Down the Road