Unemployment Benefits for Independent Contractors?

by shawn
(Oklahoma unemployment benefits)

Unemployment Benefits for Independent Contractors?


I opened a claim in feb 2011 and was approved after appeal. I stopped filing in march after accepting a new job.

last week I found out that a job I had been working ended due to my boss closing the business.

My question is this.

Within a week of reopening the claim i received money on my pay card. After research I discovered that i am drawing on my old claim. they didn't even have time to contact my last employer.

Am I receiving money by mistake?

Especially, since I was an independent contractor through the job I was just laid off from?

By the way I'm in Oklahoma.





Hi Shawn,

First, I hardly think your real concern is reopening a claim, but I'll try to explain .. and then expand on what an IC is not.

1. You can't have anything but the old claim, because you did not exhaust your initial 26 weeks of regular benefits. That claim won't expire until Feb of 2012. It's called the BYE.

I want to know what you call an independent contractor.

To not be considered an employee and a true independent contractor (self employed person) OK expects the following to hold true.

1. You were free from control over your performance.

2. You provided the same services to others or outside the place of the said employer you were working for.

3. You are engaged in an independent business.

Being self employed would most likely make you ineligible to collect further unemployment.


You think Oklahoma just started paying you benefits without checking to see if you were lying about being laid off or not first? Really?

I think OK is a fairly efficient state program. I doubt they just let it slide.

The last separation from a job controls whether you can receive benefits for the
remainder of the claim .. even if, the last employer paid none of the wages in your base period which is always connected directly to a benefit year .. even though it is a different period of time and almost always includes at least 3 to 6 months of wages prior to the start date of a claim. (BYB)


Now, there is always this possibility for which I will not check statutes .. but feel free.

If Oklahoma doesn't require an employer to respond with separation information until and if that last employer becomes a part of any subsequent benefit year and BP .. that would most likely include some of the wages you received from the last employer, well ...

In that case .. you can bet .. the state will expect the employer to respond then ..

Problem is .. if the unemployed person isn't aware of this .. or lied in the first place about the separation .. they will now have an overpayment to contend with .. and an unemployment appeal to address the reasons for separation to find out if repayment of benefits must be made from the point in time when the separation occurred in the previous benefit year.

Truly .. a big flaw in the system and which few states actually address in law.

But here's the good news .. if you were laid off you were most likely a contract worker whose performance was controlled by an employer who told you when to report and what to do after you got there.

Employer's can call anyone they want to an independent contractor, but the test above is Oklahoma's for determining whether the IC is really an employee and therefore .. someone the employer must at least pay UI taxes on the money they pay them .. and I assume matching the SS tax as well.

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