When living in California and receiving unemployment benefits from NY, can I receive unemployment benefits and start working as an independent contractor on a purely commission basis without loosing my benefits?

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When living in California and receiving unemployment benefits from NY, can I receive unemployment benefits and start working as an independent contractor on a purely commission basis without loosing my benefits?

I recently moved from New York to California. I continued working for the
same NY company remotely in CA and continued to pay NY taxes. After
having lived and worked in CA for about 5 weeks, I was laid off due to
economic reasons and was planning to apply for unemployment benefits
within the next few days. As I am currently unable to find a position similar to
the one I previously held, I am considering to start working as an independent
on a purely commission basis, no base salary. Realistically, there will be
several months before I make my first commission. During those months
without any commission, do I risk loosing my unemployment benefits? Once I
make a commission, I realize that my benefits will end but since the
unemployment benefits would be my only income until then, I want to make
sure I will at least have my unemployment benefits to fall back on during the
months in-between. Also, if there are substantial differences in CA or NY
unemployment insurance law, would it be possible to transfer my claim from
NY to CA? Since I lived and worked in NY for all of last year, can I only file in
NY? I only payed CA taxes for one month which was actually deducted from
my severance payments.

Asked on April 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Once you *worked* in CA, any unemployment claim became a CA claim, not a NY claim: you apply for unemployment in the state in which you were working--physically working; it does matter where the employer is  based--at the time employment ends.
Once you earn or accrue a commission (e.g. make the sale on which the commission will be based) you have income which will reduce or disallow unemployment. It doesn't matter when you actually get the money--it matters when you get the right or entitlement to be paid. However, until you earn the commission, you should not have an impediment to unemployment benefits.


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