GOP senator targets 'double dipping' in federal benefits

GOP senator targets 'double dipping' in federal benefits
© Greg Nash

Sen. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterLobbying World Senate confirms Trump judge who faced scrutiny over abortion views Collins votes against Trump judicial pick MORE (R-La.) wants to prevent people on disability from receiving unemployment benefits.

The GOP lawmaker announced Wednesday that he has reintroduced legislation to disqualify recipients from receiving unemployment compensation and disability insurance simultaneously, referred to as "double-dipping."

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“Unemployment and disability insurance are meant to give folks a helping hand, but we need to make sure these programs aren’t being abused,” Vitter said in a news release Wednesday. “If you receive Social Security disability benefits for being physically unable to work, you shouldn’t also receive federal assistance for not being able to find work.”

Vitter’s legislation was first introduced as an amendment to a bill extending the Unemployment Insurance Program, which assists individuals by offering weekly benefit checks while they search for work. 

To be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must have a history of working and must be able and available for work. Disability Insurance benefits are for those who are physically unable to work.

According to Vitter’s office, at least 117,000 people received both disability and unemployment insurance in 2010. Citing the Government Accountability Office report, his office said the overlapping cash benefits paid totaled over $281 million from disability insurance and more than $575 million from unemployment insurance.