We can’t always control how much we work. Recently, many people have been furloughed, released from work, or have had their hours reduced significantly. Because of that, many people have found themselves wanting to work, but not getting as many hours as they’d like. If you’re in this position, you may be able to file partial unemployment. But should you?
Do You Qualify For Partial Unemployment Benefits?
First, let’s talk about if you would qualify for partial unemployment.
While states vary, benefits for unemployment are usually available for both unemployed and part-time workers. Partial unemployment benefits are claimed when someone is working (usually) less than 30 hours a week.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind. For one, you need to have lost your full-time job or seen a reduction in hours. You can not voluntarily choose to cut back on hours and receive partial unemployment benefits.
Of course, other eligibility requirements vary by state, so be sure to check with yours to see if you qualify.
While your hours and whether you’re part-time or full-time will be big factors in determining your benefits, there are a few other requirements to keep in mind as well.
Some states also require that you meet a minimum earning level, or still work a certain amount of hours before you qualify for partial unemployment.
An example of this is in Colorado. To qualify, you must not work more than 32 hours per week. But also, you can’t earn more than 25% of your weekly benefit amount (or WBA).
Other states may require that you’re also ready, willing, and able to work, and are actively looking for more work when claiming benefits. Not all states have this rule, but be sure to check with yours.
How Much Money Will I Get with Partial Unemployment?
For many, it can be scary when you’re not sure if you’ll be able to afford your bills or other necessary expenses. And even though unemployment is supposed to help you cover costs, it’s usually not as much as you’d be making when working full-time.
So how much money can you get with partial unemployment?
As with the rest of the requirements and benefits, this will all depend on the state that you live in. However, there are handy calculators online (they vary by state) that will give you an idea of what you could be bringing home each week.
- your state will determine a reasonable weekly value,
- subtract the hours/rate that you’re currently working,
- and make up the difference.
When it comes to partial benefits, your claim will be extended until you’re receiving the maximum benefit (ie. full unemployment), or when your benefit year ends. Keep in mind that this is determined by whichever comes first. So you’ll have to stay up to date and on top of your benefits and what you’re earning.
Who Doesn’t Qualify for Partial Unemployment?
As stated earlier, there are reasons why someone would be disqualified from receiving partial unemployment benefits.
A few reasons include:
- Going part-time to receive training or to go back to school
- Taking time off from work or reducing your hours due to lack of childcare/caregiving needs
- Not looking for work outside of part-time work
- Quitting your job and getting a new part-time job
As always, this varies by state, and some states are more lenient than others. Be sure to check to see if your situation warrants an unemployment claim.
What If I Don’t Have A Job, But Have A Side Hustle?
That’s okay! If you were let go from your job, you may still qualify for benefits. Keep in mind that any additional income that you earn should be reported. This includes when you’re filing unemployment taxes. You’ll also need to report income earned every week that you earn it, not when you’re paid out for it.
There are many people who use side hustles as a way to earn money and stay afloat before they can get. back to full employment. Just remember that everything you earn must be reported in full, or you could face serious consequences.
Are Unemployment Benefits Taxed?
Yes, they are. This is why it’s so important to keep a record of all of you earnings, including your benefits. If your state allows it, you can ask them to withhold some of the benefit for tax purposes. This is especially helpful if you already have a side hustle that you’re reporting and paying taxes on. You don’t want to be hit with a large tax bill!
(FYI – there was a special tax exemption in 2020, so be sure to look into this too!)
Should You File Partial Unemployment?
If you need to file partial unemployment, go for it. There is no shame in needing help or needing to supplement your income.
We can’t always control a job loss or a reduction in hours. However, that is why there are programs put in place. Plus, partial unemployment can keep a roof over your head and food on the table, which is always important.
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.