Philip Booth, 74, a retired Labor Department official and former Washington resident who was an authority on Social Security and unemployment compensation laws, died Sunday at his home in San Diego, Calif., after a heart attack.

Mr. Booth came to Washington in 1936 and joined the Federal Security Administration, where he worked on projects dealing with Social Security. He joined the Labor Department during the 1940s. During World War II, he worked on the settlement of Jewish refugees in this country.

During the late 1950s, Mr. Booth served with the International Labor Organization in Geneva. He was chief of state programs for compliance and legislation in Labor's unemployment division for three years before retiring in 1962.

Between 1962 and 1973, he taught at the University of Michigan's school of social work and wrote "Social Security in America." Since moving to San Diego in 1973, he had been a consultant to the National Committee on Unemployment Compensation.

Mr. Booth was born in Minnesota and reared in Chicago. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Arizona and did graduate work at the University of Chicago. Before coming to Washington, he taught in Chicago and worked with the Chicago Federation of Labor.

Survivors include his wife, Mary, of San Diego; two sons, Paul, of Chicago, and Michael, of Washington; two brothers, Milton and Elias, both of Chicago; a sister, Sarah Shaffer of Iron River, Mich., and two grandchildren.