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Can I sell on Ebay and etsy.com and still collect unemployment?

by MP
(Buffalo, NY)

Can I sell on Ebay and etsy.com and still collect unemployment?

I've been out of work in NY since Jan. '08, took a PT job for 5 mo. and was laid off from there also. UI lowered my weekly rate by $50 after refiling because of the PT work and I have searched again since April and continue to do so everyday. Being an older person in my 50s, it is even more difficult. This decrease has more than put me in a hole. My question is, with the "new law" I have read about concerning PayPal giving the IRS all information for 2010 taxes, can I still sell online and collect unemployment without being penalized or having my UI taken away? For some of us, this is the only way we are keeping our head above water. I am not concerned about paying the taxes which I would do, it's losing UI that is my main concern. I usually concentrate on this in the evenings. I am an artist and sell some art items as well as general things. Thank you for you answer.


Hi MP,

You have asked a GREAT question!!

I had to go out and find out what the "new law" was though:)

The central issue as I see it is what income are you required to report while collecting benefits to avoid any possibility of a denial for unemployment fraud or overpayment notice.



In my state, they actually tell you, if you look hard enough, that you should report all money earned including "babysitting and mowing lawns".

I quite frankly, do not see how they'd know if a person got paid for these types of jobs .. but when it comes to the supplemental money earned by selling your art or crafts on Ebay and etsy .. I'd be very careful about reporting it scrupulously.

It's a matter of how the government detects unemployment fraud. Some of it is a big mystery, but given what little I know about the buying, selling and possible "sharing" of databases and now what I read about the "new IRS law" .. I'd report it.

I don't know how much you are earning from your sales, but every state first disregards a certain amount of any money you do earn in a week before they start reducing you benefit amount dollar for dollar. This amount can be found for each state by clicking "monetary eligibility" and going to table 3-8 on this page.

I thank you for your question. It brings up a real concern for those trying to be self sufficient, only to find out they may stand to lose more than they gain for their efforts.

It also brings up further questions about how the unemployment department becomes aware of what we're doing .. but that's another topic.

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