Did you know you can work part time and still collect unemployment benefits? In fact, a part-time or temporary job can help your unemployment benefits last longer.
The key is to tell us how many hours you worked and how much you earned for any week you claim unemployment benefits. Depending on your earnings, you may qualify for partial benefits.
Here’s how we calculate it: Your weekly gross earnings (wages before taxes) minus $5, multiplied by 75 percent (x 0.75). You may find it easier to use our earnings deduction chart.
Even for partial benefits, you must engage in at least three job-search activities weekly. The Handbook for Unemployed Workers provides details. (If we’ve waived your work search for an allowable reason, you don’t have to look for other work.)
As a part-time employee, you demonstrate your willingness to work and maintain your connection to the workforce. This may enhance your appeal to prospective, full-time employers. And if you still need unemployment benefits after your benefit year ends, your part-time earnings could help you qualify.
But again: You must let us know that you’re working. If not, you could face a penalty, as a Spokane bookkeeper recently learned the hard way. Her employer had cut her wages to $100 a week. Soon after she requested benefits, she wrote to us about that $100, but she failed to account for it each of the 23 weeks she filed for benefits. When we billed her for more than $8,000 and labeled it fraud, she was mortified.
The Employment Security worker who reviewed her case believed she misunderstood the rules and ultimately waived the penalty – but the bookkeeper still owes more than $1,600 in benefit overpayments.
So, make the most of your part-time job, and remember to report hours and wages every week that you earn them.
Susan J. Gordon is a Public Information Officer for the Employment Security Department.