Can you collect work as a freelancer while collecting unemployment if you still actively seeking work outside the home?

Does it matter how much and if you are an actual LLC or not? I am a freelance graphic artist. I am looking for a job but told I can still collect unemployment. I claim to be self employed each week in my weekly claim.

Asked on July 1, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can collect unemployment while working as a freelancer, though what you earn will reduce your benefits (potentially to zero, if you earn enough). For unemployment insurance (UI)  purposes, it doesn't matter if you are working as an individual freelancer, through an LLC, or as a contrct or part-time employee--the income from work still counts against your benefits.

Subtract $30 from your weekly income that week. Multiply the remainder by 0.67 (basically 2/3). Subtract the product from your weekly benefits. The result is your partial benefits that week.

Say you are getting $300/week benefits and earn $270 as a freelancer. Subtract $30 from $270: $240. Multiply that by 0.67 (we'll use 2/3 for simplicity): $160. Subtract $160 from $300: $140. You'll get to keep your earnings that week plus get $140 in UI.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.