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My last w2 was 5 years ago and since then I've been a 1099 employee. Can I collect unemployment

by sue
(California Unemployment Benefits)

My last W2 was 5 years ago and since then I've been a 1099 employee. Can I collect unemployment benefits in California?

I am 57 and the past 5 years I have been 1099 but before that I was W2. I just got fired and I need to know can I collect unemployment while I am looking for a job?

Hi Sue,

Well, what I'm seeing here is a little contradiction.

A 1099 suggest that you might have been "self-employed" in some capacity, but this is not always true .. because some employers just choose the 1099 route to avoid paying UI taxes and SSI taxes on what they pay you.

But every state also has tests that determine whether you were a self-employed contractor .. or actually an employee.

There is page of the California unemployment eligibility guide that might help shed some light on whether you were an employee or self-employed

What is contradictory, is that if you were self-employed .. how could you be fired?????

Here's another resource provided by DOLETA that provides the tests used to determine employee or self employed for all states.

I feel the need to forewarn you that if you were in fact .. an employee and your employer did not pay taxes on your earnings .. you would most likely first receive a monetary determination denying the claim as invalid because they wouldn't have a wage record associated to an employer SUTA (state unemployment tax account).

You would need to appeal that determination to move forward in the process.

Of course as usual, I'm speculating on a worse case scenario about the integrity of your employer, (if they were trying to bypass paying taxes on your wages, this will not be pretty for them), but if they were/are straight up .. then it would go straight to whether the termination was for work related misconduct or not .. which of course is the non-monetary determination and can also be appealed.


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