question regarding working on a freelance basis while on unemployment in NY
Hi! I hope you can help. I’m on unemployment in NY. I have taken on a few freelance projects and am so confused about how to account for this income on the NY labor department website for the filing of weekly claims. Most of my work is for a flat fee, so for the last project I did, I indicated a break in my claim for the week in which I received the check. Now I’ve received a form in the mail from the labor department, with all sorts of irrelevant questions, and a section for my “employer” to fill out.
The last thing I want is for a client to receive paperwork from the state indicating that I’m on unemployment. I hope to get more work from this client in the future, and don’t want them to associate me with bureaucratic paperwork.
I finally got through to the department on the phone, but the woman really didn’t seem to understand my problem (which canNOT be a unique situation!), and her advice was very vague.
What can I do about this situation, and what can I do in the future? Should I not indicate a break in claim when I get paid for a freelance project? My benefits will run out at some point this year, so any income reported by me or my clients to the IRS could be attributed to work that I did after my unemployment runs out.
Sorry for the length, but this situation is so needlessly complicated!
Supposedly, the requirement is to always report the wages earned in the week they were earned .. and not necessarily paid.
I first began to see if I could find an easy solution to your problem on this page.
I was looking for something that might address “freelance”, contract work or self-employment and how monies earned should be reported under these conditions. I didn’t really find anything that answered your question.
So .. without knowing what kind of irrelevant questions the state is asking .. I’ll take a stab at what I think they may be concerned with.
They are trying to figure out if you were an “employee” Since I am not able to see the questions they ask when you recertify or reopen a claim I can’t be sure that your problem might not lie in something as simple as clicking a wrong box. I know that in my state, the online form to recertify or continue claiming benefits, differentiates between types of money earned.
If you’re wondering why they would do this, it’s because anyone who has been awarded benefits is now watched for other issues that could create disqualifications like refusal of suitable work, quitting subsequent suitable work without good cause, not making yourself able and available for work .. etc. They also want to make sure all employers who should be paying taxes, are paying taxes.
Somehow, you will need to show that this was freelance work and there wasn’t an employer/employee relationship that would require your client to pay UI taxes on what you earned and hope that this isn’t a question of failing to report wages properly.
Lots of employer do try to bypass taxes by claiming someone is an independent contractor, but and employer/employee relationship is determined by a state specific test. You’ll find that information under “coverage” here.
You might need to attach something to what you did receive from the state to straighten them out, otherwise you may end up receiving a determination denying benefits because they have assumed you quit.
And I do not guarantee that they still won’t feel a need to contact the clients.
I realize how frustrating this is and I’m sorry the person at the NYS Labor Dept. was of little use. There are a whole lot of new and inexperienced people working in UI nowadays. When I called state agencies on a regular basis, it was usually an appeal office. It was not uncommon to speak with at least three or four people to get an answer that satisfied me.
Huh!! You’re sorry about your length:)
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