Understanding Unemployment

Well, here’s a new one for me. I filed for unemployment this month and have since gotten three forms in the mail to fill out and send back. I’m trying to sort out what it all means. Apparently, I can get $450 per week in unemployment insurance, or $1800 per month. That’s a lot for not working at all, I must say, even though it’s not close to what I was making prior to losing my job.

What I’m trying to understand now is how freelancing effects unemployment wage. It seems silly to bother freelancing if the government will just deduct your freelance income from unemployment (unless it happens to be more than your monthly paycheck.) Right? The thing is, right now I’m owed about $1000 for freelance work I completed. $450 for one gig, $50 for another, $475 for another. I guess I should have filed my invoices more timely, but I didn’t EXPECT to get laid off. Who does? Well, I felt it coming, but I thought I had one more month to get everything in order.
Regardless, my one freelancing job still gives me the potential of making $500 a month. I don’t “need” to file my invoice each month as far as I know, I’ve never been asked for my invoice and have often put a few months together when I didn’t have time to send in a detailed invoice any one month. But then it will look like I’ve made $1000 or $1500 in a given month, which will surely effect my unemployment wages. Would it be better to just stop working freelance at this time? It would be a bummer to give up my $500/month gig. Or should I just put off filing my invoice until I have an actual job again?
Does anyone have any experience with this?
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3 thoughts on “Understanding Unemployment”

  1. Just think about how it will look on your resume if you quit freelancing now. I would think any potential employer would seriously look down on that. And does the freelancing keep you in the loop? Maybe the freelancing could open up potential job possibilities?Also, give it up now, and what happens when you get another "real" job and want to pick the frelancing back up? They may have found another freelancer to replace you…It seems you are analyzing this situation from a very short-sighted point of view…and to be honest, it's kind of sickening that you are willing to mooch off the government when you are perfectly capable to picking up some of the tab yourself. Just like a lazy self-centered 20-something!

  2. I haven't had any experience with filing for unemployment, but I am glad to hear that you will get $1,800. That was far more than I expected. I think you need to be careful with when you submit the invoices lest they thing all that income is for one month. I think it would be wise to keep freelancing because you may come across someone who can tell you about a job that is not advertised or tell you about upcoming openings in their company. And ignore that very rude comment from Anonymous. I think its a valid question to ask.

  3. My husband is on unemployment. While he doesn't freelance, we've had AMPLE opportunity to get confused by the system.Here's the deal: You file weekly, right? So if you make money in a particular week, you report it. They then deduct that amount from your WEEKLY check.So, as you get money, just let the unemployment office know. If you're looking for maximum gains, then try as much as you can to schedule your payments for the same week. That way, it doesn't matter if you make $100 or $1,000, the rest of the month's weekly checks will be unchanged.Yeah, on the one hand, you could get the money from the government. On the other hand, the one good point Anon had was that it could look bad if you stop freelancing. Having ongoing freelance jobs will look good on your resume.And don't forget: Making money while on unemployment just draws your benefits out longer. So you could be giving yourself some much-needed padding, while keeping somewhat in the game.

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