General Question

erincities's avatar

Can a freelancer collect unemployment?

Asked by erincities (20points) June 16th, 2010

Can a freelancer or self-employed business owner collect unemployment? I’ve heard that contractors who have full-time jobs and are then “laid-off” can qualify, but what about freelancers who have been working for various clients and making income in previous years and are now not?

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8 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Nope. That is the risk of self-employment. That is why a business should always have some form of liquid assets.

If you apply for unemployment, the Department of Labor will look at whether, in fact, you should have been treated as an employee instead of a contractor. If they determine based on IRS guidelines that your role looks more like the former than the latter, you may qualify for unemployment.

But, good luck with that.

YARNLADY's avatar

The rules vary in different states. In California, you need to pay into the system in order to receive benefits. If you have been paying the unemployment insurance premiums to the state, you might be eligible for benefits. Check with your local office.

erincities's avatar

I should say I am in California, and have been paying regular state and federal taxes for the last 4 years. Is unemployment a special tax, or is it apart of regular income taxes?

anartist's avatar

No, unless you have option to pay your own unemployment tax, and do.Unemployment is normally funded by the employer who pays an unemployment tax for each permanent employee. Part-time, contractor, and freelancers not included.

marinelife's avatar

@erincities It is a special tax.

JLeslie's avatar

Never heard of that. Being able to get unemployment if you are self employed. Learn something new every day.

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