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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 32952
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Combining UI, Pension and SS benefits - what is legal

Resolved Question:

I have been laid off from the University of California at the age of 65. I wish to continue working, but may not be able to find a job. I have several options regarding UI, SS and UC Pension, and wish to know which combinations are legal. Can I: a) collect Unemployment Insurance Compensation and my Univ. of CA. pension at the same time? Would my pension income reduce my UI payments? b) collect Unemployment Compensation and Social Security at the same time? Would there be any reduction in payments? SS limits the amount of earned income at 65 because I am still not at my full retirement age of 66. Would UI count as earned income? Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
a) collect Unemployment Insurance Compensation and my Univ. of CA. pension at the same time? Would my pension income reduce my UI payments?

A: Depends. A pension will reduce UI benefits dollar for dollar, if:

Section 1255.3 provides that a pension payment is deductible if:
  1. It is based on the individual's prior work; and
  2. It is paid under a plan maintained or contributed to by a base period employer; and
  3. The claimant's work after the beginning of the base period affected eligibility to receive the pension; or work after the beginning of the base period increased the award of the pension; and
  4. The claimant made no payment into the pension fund.

Most likely, you contributed to your pension plan, therefore, there is no deduction from UI benefits.

b) collect Unemployment Compensation and Social Security at the same time?

A: Social Security is not deducted from Unemployment benefits, assuming that you are ready, willing and able to take full-time employment. If you are actually retired, then you are not eligible for unemployment. This tends to make it difficult to obtain both Social Security benefits and unemployment simultaneously.

Would there be any reduction in payments?

A: It's sort of an all or nothing proposition -- see above.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
" If you are actually retired, then you are not eligible for unemployment."

Even though a person may be receiving SS, they are still able to work and earn a limited, or after full retirement age, an unlimited amount of compensation - despite the fact that they are "retired."

Therefore, in my situation, where I am recently "laid off" and looking for work (which may never materialize) is it practical to apply for UI and apply for SS at the same time, without actually breaking any laws or regulations? Would I likely be refused?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 2 years ago.
The EDD investigator will ask you questions in order to ascertain whether or not you are "able and available" for full-time employment. There's no law that says you cannot seek work while receiving SS benefits. But, if the investigator finds some inconsistency in your answers, then you could be denied benefits. Quoting from the EDD Benefit Determination Guide:

The receipt of retirement or pension benefits may or may not raise a (PWP) Prior Work Pension issue under Section 1255.3; however, the claimant's eligibility under Section 1253(c) is generally questioned because application for retirement benefits implies a withdrawal from the labor market. The claimant can overcome this presumption of unavailability by complying with the requirements of Title 22, Section 1253(c)-1(b), which provide:

"A claimant is available for work during the week for which he or she claims benefits if the claimant is ready, willing, and able to accept suitable employment or has good cause for any restriction on his or her readiness, willingness, or ability to accept such employment and; notwithstanding such a restriction, a substantial field of employment remains open to the claimant . . ."

Some pension plans have provisions that may preclude the claimant working in his or her normal occupation while in receipt of the pension. For example, under some union pension plans, acceptance of the pension may preclude further dispatch through the union. When a claimant can no longer work in his or her normal occupation or trade, the claimant must show that he or she is ready, willing, and able to accept the labor market conditions of an occupation for which he or she qualifies through training or experience.

 

Other pension plans impose restrictions upon the amount of employment which the claimant may accept without jeopardizing pension rights. For example, Social Security benefits are reduced for persons under the age of 70 if earnings are in excess of specified exempt amounts. Depending on the pension plan, the penalty for exceeding the restrictions may result in reduction or loss of the pension benefit.

 

When a claimant states that he or she will not accept employment that will interfere with his or her pension benefits, a realistic approach must be taken. It must be recognized that the claimant may not actually understand how wages will affect his or her pension benefit. While the Department should not attempt to explain the provisions of the Social Security law or any other pension plan, it is the interviewers responsibility to refer the claimant to the Social Security office or to the pension provider to secure such information before the individual's eligibility is determined. In no instance should a claimant be disqualified under Section 1253(c) simply because he or she will not give up his or her pension benefit. The availability issue relates to restrictions imposed by the claimant on acceptable employment, not the receipt of the pension.

 

If a claimant has performed other work since retirement from an employer or union, the presumption of unavailability is weakened considerably. However, it does not conclusively establish attachment to a labor market. The nature and duration of the work performed since retirement and the manner in which it was obtained may have a bearing upon whether or not the work can be viewed as evidencing a re-entry to the labor market.

 

Some occupations, such as patrol members and state safety workers have mandatory retirement ages established by law. When a claimant is mandatorily retired, availability is dependent upon whether he or she remains available to a substantial field of employment for which he or she is fitted by training or experience. Since the labor market has, in effect, withdrawn from the individual, the claimant would be eligible under Section 1253(c) as long as he or she imposes no unreasonable restrictions on availability, such as performing work in the same occupation.


Hope this helps.

NOTICE: My goal here is to educate others about the law. I am always available to answer your follow-up questions after you click Accept – however, if you do not click Accept, the website gets paid, and I receive nothing. This is true, even if you are on a subscription plan. So please click Accept, so that I will be able to continue to provide this service for others in the future.


And, if you need to contact me again, please put my user id on the title line of your question (“To Socrateaser”), and the system will send me an alert. Thanks!



socrateaser, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 32952
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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