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Ask Dr. Fiona Chen Your Own Question
Dr. Fiona Chen
Dr. Fiona Chen, Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 300
Experience:  Former IRS Revenue Agent
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I am 70 yrs old and working full time at an $85,000. a year

Customer Question

I am 70 yrs old and working full time at an $85,000. a year job. I've work same position for 12 years. I am also collecting my SS benefits. If I lose my job can I apply for and collect unemployment benefit? If so, for how long.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Dr. Fiona Chen replied 2 months ago.

Dear Customer,

1) There is no offset between social security and unemployment income. That is, you can collect both social security retirement income and unemployment income at the same time.

2) For unemployment insurance, there is no age limit. The requirement is that the person is able to and is actively looking for work.

I will attach several reference citations and website links for your further reading information below.

3) As to how long you may qualify for the unemployment benefit, the length has limited relationship with our age. Unemployment is a federal program administrated through the state. Therefore, the length of requirement depends on the law and budget at that time. The rule is the same for all, not age sensitive.

4) Yet, it is most beneficial to request and receive a solvency pay package in addition to unemployment benefit after separation from the company. Many companies are willing to provide such packages when dismissing employees to show good will and prevent employees from suing them such as age discrimination, etc. When such a package is provided, the employer usually also allows the employee to take unemployment benefit and will not challenge that claim.


Fiona Chen, MPA, Ph.D., CPA, ABV, CFF, CITP

For example, such as in the State of Illinois,

"In Illinois -- as in every other state -- employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own may qualify to collect unemployment benefits. The eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state, however. Here are the basic rules for collecting unemployment benefits in Illinois.

Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits in Illinois

There are three eligibility requirements to collect unemployment in Illinois.

  • Your past earnings must meet certain minimum thresholds.
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Illinois law.
  • You must be able, available, and looking for work.

Past Earnings

Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. (See Nolo's article Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period for more information). In Illinois, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your claim for benefits."

Can I Receive Social Security And Unemployment At The Same Time?

Social security is a primary source of income for retired individuals and unemployment can be a primary source of income for someone who has recently lost their job. While it does not occur frequently, people could qualify for both benefits as long as they meet certain qualifying criteria.

Be Old Enough

To collect both social security and unemployment at the same time, you will have to be old enough to collect social security. While there are no real age requirements for unemployment, to collect social security you will have to be at least 62 years old. If you want to collect the full reimbursement, you will have to be at least 67 years old. Otherwise you will receive only a partial benefit for the rest of your life.

Be Unemployed

To collect social security and unemployment at the same time you will also have to have recently become unemployed for a qualified reason. Unemployment benefits are available for people who have been laid off from either a full-time or part-time job. It generally does not provide benefits to people who quit or retire from their job voluntarily or were fired for cause. Unemployment benefits have been extended in recent years and now can last for as long as 99 consecutive weeks.

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