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[IWS] CRS: Concurrent Receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI): Background and Legislative Proposals in the 113th Congress [9 April 2014]

IWS Documented News Service

_______________________________

Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach

School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies

Cornell University

16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky

New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

________________________________________________________________________

 

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

 

Concurrent Receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI): Background and Legislative Proposals in the 113th Congress

William R. Morton,  Analyst in Income Security

April 9, 2014

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R43471.pdf

[full-text, 18 pages]

 

Summary

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) are forms of

social insurance that provide protection against the risk of economic loss due to specific adverse

events. SSDI insures against the risk of lost earnings due to a severe disability by providing

monthly cash benefits to statutorily disabled workers who are unable to engage in substantial

gainful activity (SGA) and to their dependents. UI, on the other hand, protects against the risk of

lost earnings due to unemployment by providing temporary cash assistance to involuntarily

unemployed workers who meet the requirements of state law. Although the two programs serve

largely separate populations, under certain circumstances, some individuals may be concurrently

(simultaneously) eligible for SSDI and UI.

 

In July 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that examined the

issue of overlapping SSDI and UI benefits. GAO found that 117,000 individuals received

concurrent cash benefit payments from the SSDI and UI programs in fiscal year (FY) 2010 of

more than $850 million. These individuals represented less than 1% of the total beneficiaries in

both programs, and the cash benefits they received in FY2010 totaled 0.2% of SSDI benefit

outlays and 0.4% of UI benefit outlays.

 

During the 113th Congress, several bills have been introduced to eliminate or reduce the SSDI

benefits of individuals who concurrently receive UI benefits. These proposals take one of three

general approaches to offsetting or preventing concurrent receipt of benefits. The first approach

treats receipt of UI benefits as engaging in SGA, which would delay receipt of SSDI cash benefits

and Medicare for individuals awarded but not yet entitled to SSDI benefits and could lead to a

suspension of SSDI cash benefits for individuals already entitled to SSDI. The second approach

suspends SSDI cash benefits for any month in which an individual receives UI benefits. The third

approach reduces SSDI cash benefits, dollar for dollar, for any month in which an SSDI

beneficiary is in receipt of UI benefits.

 

Proponents of these bills argue that concurrent receipt of SSDI and UI benefits is “double

dipping” or duplicative, inasmuch as each payment serves the same function of replacing lost

earnings. They also maintain that receipt of one benefit is fundamentally contradictory with the

eligibility requirements of the other, in that UI beneficiaries are required to be able and available

for work (as determined under state law), while SSDI beneficiaries must be generally unable to

work due to a severe physical or mental impairment.

 

Opponents, on the other hand, argue that concurrent receipt of UI and SSDI benefits is consistent

and appropriate under law, because the SSDI program actively encourages beneficiaries to return

to work through various work incentives. Many opponents also contend that preventing or

offsetting concurrent receipt of SSDI and UI benefits discriminates against people with

disabilities who have lost their job through no fault of their own.

 

This report explores the issue of concurrent eligibility for the SSDI and UI programs and

examines many of the legislative proposals introduced in the 113th Congress to eliminate or

reduce concurrent receipt of SSDI and UI.

 

Contents

Introduction ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Background ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Social Security Disability Insurance.......................................................................................... 1

Eligibility ............................................................................................................................. 2

Benefits ............................................................................................................................... 2

Financing ............................................................................................................................. 3

Unemployment Insurance .......................................................................................................... 4

Eligibility ............................................................................................................................. 5

Benefits ............................................................................................................................... 5

Financing ............................................................................................................................. 5

Concurrent Receipt of SSDI and UI Benefits .................................................................................. 6

GAO Report on Overlapping SSDI and UI Benefits ................................................................. 8

Estimate of the Number of Concurrent SSDI and UI Beneficiaries .......................................... 9

Arguments For and Against Eliminating or Offsetting Concurrent Receipt of SSDI and UI

Benefits ....................................................................................................................................... 10

Legislative Proposals in the 113th Congress to Eliminate or Offset Concurrent Receipt

SSDI and UI Benefits ................................................................................................................. 12

H.R. 1502................................................................................................................................. 12

S. 1099 ..................................................................................................................................... 13

S.Amdt. 2631 to S. 1845 ......................................................................................................... 13

S. 1931 and S. 2097 ................................................................................................................. 14

President’s FY2015 Budget Proposal ...................................................................................... 14

 

Tables

Table 1. Estimated Average Monthly Number of Concurrent SSDI and UI Beneficiaries, 2014-2023 ................................................... 9

Table 2. Proposals to Eliminate or Offset Concurrent Receipt of SSDI and UI Benefits ............. 14

 

Contacts

Author Contact Information........................................................................................................... 15

Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................... 15

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

 

 




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