Yes, the SSI program is a “program of last resort” and individuals who receive SSI are required to apply for unemployment and for all benefits for which they may be eligible. If the SSI beneficiary does not apply, they may receive a notice from SSA.
SSA does not count the first $20 of Unemployment Insurance (UI), but then counts the remainder dollar for dollar. This includes the UI as well as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 per week. Unemployment Insurance is countable unearned income.
If unemployment insurance causes the SSI payment to be reduced to zero, the special work rules of 1619(b) would not apply, however, the individual may be eligible for other Medicaid programs in their state. Medicaid recipients who had this coverage before the COVID-19 crisis, or became eligible during the crisis, cannot be terminated by Medicaid.
Once the UI and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments stop or if/when the SSI beneficiary returns to work, a beneficiary should notify SSA immediately and ask to resume the SSI payments. This can be done without a new application for up to 12 months after the SSI was “suspended,” due to this income. SSA will likely conduct a review, which is called a redetermination, to confirm that all eligibility rules are met and, if so, will restart the SSI benefit.
Yes, unemployment payments and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation do not count as earned income for SSDI beneficiaries. Inform the Social Security Administration of the date that you left employment and the date you return.