What is the Difference Between Partial and Full Unemployment?

unemployment Dec 07, 2020

If you pick up temporary holiday hours at a store after being laid off, or start driving for a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft, will you lose your unemployment benefits? Navigating unemployment can be confusing, especially when your work situation is changing. But in this post, we will break down everything you need to know about partial vs. full unemployment and how part-time work impacts your unemployment payments.

What is Partial Unemployment?

Partial unemployment benefits, which are available to some degree in every state, are lowered unemployment benefits. They are for people who gain back some income after losing a job, but are still not working as much as they did before. For example, you might start driving for a rideshare company after being laid off, pick up some freelance work, or become a Skip concierge. Partial unemployment is designed to prevent people from being afraid to get a job because they would lose their benefits. You won’t be penalized for regaining some, but not all, of your income. Your benefits may be cut down, but won’t be completely cut off, when you get a part-time job or pick up contract work.

Partial unemployment benefits are calculated by your state based on the income you report. If you report your income inaccurately, you could be charged with unemployment fraud, which is a criminal offense.

Do I Have to Report All Income I Receive?

Yes, you do need to report all income to your state. However, not all income will be deducted from your unemployment.

States have an "earnings disregard”, which is the amount of money you can make in a week before it begins to impact your unemployment payment. The earnings disregard varies by state. Some do it as a flat dollar amount per week, while others calculate the earnings disregard as a percentage of the weekly benefit amount. You should look up the exact rules in your state so that you know when you hit the earnings disregard.

How is Partial Unemployment Calculated?

This also varies by state, but generally, partial unemployment benefits are calculated by subtracting the amount you earn per week above the earnings disregard from your original benefit amount. Partial unemployment is designed to wean people off of unemployment rather than cutting them off completely when they find temporary or part-time work.

For example, in Massachusetts, the earnings disregard is ⅓ of your weekly benefit. If your weekly benefit is $600, your earnings disregard would be $200. If your former employer invites you back to work part-time and you earn $250 a week, your unemployment benefits would be cut by $50.You would receive $550 in weekly unemployment benefits.

Conclusion: You Can Still Receive Unemployment While Working Part-time

If you're thinking about picking up some temporary or part-time work after losing a job, you should know that you won’t lose your unemployment benefits. Your benefits may be cut slightly, but you should still receive some weekly assistance. Follow along with us on the Skip Blog for more info on government services and information, and if you haven't received your benefits yet, you can track relative unemployment progress and general information with our free tracker.

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