Unemployment Issues for Older Americans

June 10, 2020

Older workers lost their jobs or were forced into early retirement due to the COVID-19 crisis at unprecedented rates. The unemployment rate for people over the age of 55 quadrupled to over 12 percent, but many experts fear that number is actually much higher. Studies conducted by the Retirement Equity Lab (ReLab) shows the true rate closer to 20%.

Many of these out of work individuals are seeking unemployment benefits yet they may also be receiving Social Security benefits as well. Prior to 2015, there would have been a Social Security offset factored in and unemployment benefits would have been reduced accordingly. The AARP fought this offset by arguing that these are not duplicate benefits. Unemployment benefits are administered at the state level and if older individuals choose to work or need to work yet find themselves unemployed due to COVID-19, they are entitled to the same benefits regardless of federally funded Social Security benefits.

Getting back to work may be more difficult for this age group due to age discrimination and safety concerns prior to the availability of a vaccine for COVID-19. Older workers will likely be more cautious about returning to certain work environments and need more safety measures in place. This may lead to an earlier-than-originally-planned retirement which brings on the need to reassess retirement planning.

Visit the Maryland Department of Labor websitefor more information on applying for unemployment benefits. For a comprehensive retirement planning consultation, contact Stouffer Legal at 443-470-3599 in the Greater Baltimore area.

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