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What You Should Know About Earning Income While Unemployed

Being unemployed is something everyone hopes doesn’t happen to them. Complain as you may about your jobs, the mere thought of not having regular income is stressful. So, imagine having unemployment benefits but being told that not only is this financial relief temporary, but it won’t be anywhere near what you made from your previous job. Naturally, most will look for ways to fill in the gaps by finding a part-time job or side hustle.

While earning money during unemployment is completely fine, there are some things you need to know that can prevent you from getting into a lot of financial and legal trouble.  Though most of this information will vary by state, it goes without saying that whether you’re receiving Arizona unemployment benefits or New York unemployment, you’ll need to be mindful of how much income you make on the side.

Report Your Earnings

It can be commonplace to skip reporting your earnings to the unemployment office. After all, it’s just a little bit of income, so why should you have to tell them? This assumption can get you in a lot of trouble. Whether you make $2 per week answering surveys or $200 per week as a part-time cashier, you need to report your earnings.

Failure to report earned income on any given week can result in your unemployment benefits being canceled. It can also result in other penalties and legal actions taken against you.

Watch What Type of Job You Get

One of the key requirements for receiving unemployment benefits is your ability to diligently look for full-time employment. If your new part-time job or freelance contract consumes a better part of your day leaving no room to look for, much less accept, a job offer, then you may be disqualified from receiving benefits in the future.

So, if you’re going to work as a cashier, make sure it’s only a few times per week. If you plan on being a freelance writer or work a temp job, make sure that your contract hours aren’t full time and that you still have the ability to search for gainful employment.

You May Still Get Paid

In most cases, unless you’ve found a part-time job that somehow pays more than your previous full-time job, you will still receive some of your unemployment benefits. Your state’s unemployment office will simply reduce the amount you receive to ensure that you’re not getting more than you’re allowed each week. Whether it’s a few dollars or a few hundred dollars difference, it’s a lot better than not reporting it and ending up with a huge fine.

Continuing Benefits

Let’s say you took a temp job or a contract 1099 and were told that you no longer qualify for unemployment. When you’ve finished your temp assignment or the 1099 contract terms have ended you can reapply for unemployment benefits. As long as you apply within the same year, you’ll still be getting benefits from your previous employer.

Making a little extra money on the side while you’re unemployed isn’t uncommon. In fact, it’s a wise decision to make when you have bills piling up and no permanent source of income. If you’re going to get a part-time gig, start a side hustle, work from home, or take on a temp job, make sure that you do the right thing. No matter how you think your benefits will be impacted, it’s always best to report your earnings than it is to keep it from your local government. In the end, the consequences can be severe, leaving you with a hefty bill, ruined reputation, and no financial support until you find a job.