Freelancing and unemployment insurance

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retiringtype
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 11:00 am

Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by retiringtype »

Hi all. Quick question. I live in New York City. Spent the lasts 18 months doing freelance marketing work. Unfortunately, the project has ended. Does anyone know if I'm eligible to collect unemployment insurance here in New York, even though I was a contractor and not an official employee? I've gotten conflicting answers. Thanks in advance.
BogleTaxPro
Posts: 605
Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2020 6:08 pm

Re: Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by BogleTaxPro »

retiringtype wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:44 am Hi all. Quick question. I live in New York City. Spent the lasts 18 months doing freelance marketing work. Unfortunately, the project has ended. Does anyone know if I'm eligible to collect unemployment insurance here in New York, even though I was a contractor and not an official employee? I've gotten conflicting answers. Thanks in advance.
Maybe, based on this: https://dol.ny.gov/unemployment/unemplo ... nd-farmers
Worth applying. All they can do is say no?
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Harry Livermore
Posts: 1888
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:32 am

Re: Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by Harry Livermore »

It won't hurt you to try.
As a self-employed individual who works in NYC, I can tell you that I have tried to collect unemployment twice in my life- once in the late 80s, and once at the start of the COVID shutdown.
The first time made me not try again for over 30 years. Even though I was paid via a payroll service for many clients, with applicable city and state taxes being taken out, it was a tedious process that involved sitting in a DOL office in person, waiting, and convincing them that I was eligible ("OK, wait... where do you work, exactly?") In the end I got $300 or something for the week. I realized that the couple of hours in that office would have been better spent picking up the phone and hustling for work that would have netted $300 per day, or more, at the time. I kept myself busy and employed and never looked back.
The second time, during COVID, was more "streamlined" because now you apply online. But these days, I more often than not bill through my company, rather than work through a payroll service, so there was not much history. There was also the PUA program, however. Long story short, I collected $1200... then the PPP program came online a week later and I discontinued seeking ordinary UI. Later, in 2021, NYS sent me a letter to claw back the $1200. I appealed (a judge calls you and you have to explain your case) and lost, and sent them the $1200 when requested. I then received another notice that I had the right to a secondary appeal, which I took. I must have made a better presentation, as the judge decided I was in fact eligible. NYS then sent me a VISA cash card through Key Bank, which somehow was less than $1200.
I'm sure there are people out there who are proficient at "getting theirs" (in fact, it's quite common in my business) and it's all above board and legal, but I find that I'm just not wired to interface with bureaucracy, and as a freelancer, just networking and picking up work is often easier and more rewarding.
But it's a no-penalty endeavor, so give it a try!
Cheers
Topic Author
retiringtype
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri May 20, 2016 11:00 am

Re: Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by retiringtype »

Update on applying for unemployment in New York State: After jumping through hoops for at least half an hour online, including multiple requests for identity verification via various methods and many, many repetitive steps, I received a message saying that I need to call to speak to someone on Monday. So the journey continues. They don't make it easy, which in some respects, is a good thing (maybe?).
chassis
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Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:28 pm

Re: Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by chassis »

retiringtype wrote: Sun Feb 11, 2024 7:28 am Update on applying for unemployment in New York State: After jumping through hoops for at least half an hour online, including multiple requests for identity verification via various methods and many, many repetitive steps, I received a message saying that I need to call to speak to someone on Monday. So the journey continues. They don't make it easy, which in some respects, is a good thing (maybe?).
Interesting story. Have you filed a tax return where it is documented you have paid self-employment taxes? If yes, I hold the view you have an argument to receive UI compensation. If no, your battle may be steeply uphill.

UI is just that, insurance. Insurance works by virtue of premia (taxes) received by the insurer (the state) and paid by the insured (the individual), and claims paid by the insurer and received by the insured. If the premia are not paid, things could be problematic.

I am not a lawyer or tax accountant.
Asyouwish
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 6:20 am

Re: Freelancing and unemployment insurance

Post by Asyouwish »

https://www.ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance
Read the eligibility section.

My understanding is that you qualify for UI when you lose your job from your employer. The employer pays into the unemployment insurance program. As self employed, you do not pay into the unemployment insurance program. Therefore, self employed are not usually eligible. Covid broke all the rules. But those days are over.
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