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Can I Collect Unemployment If My Hours Are Cut?

Although most people collecting unemployment do not work at all, some people qualify for unemployment if their work hours are drastically cut. These people are considered to be "partially unemployed" because they are no longer working full time or making enough to support themselves but they have jobs. You can get a percentage of your full unemployment benefits if you become partially unemployed.

Partial Unemployment

Most states consider you to be partially unemployed if your hours were cut. Your hours must be cut drastically; if you are cut back from 35 hours to 30 hours, for example, you may not qualify. You usually do not receive the full amount of unemployment you would be entitled to if you were not working at all, but may receive a benefit similar to what part-time workers receive while on unemployment.

Applying For Benefits

In some states, such as Massachusetts, you apply for partial unemployment benefits in the same manner that you apply for regular unemployment. You just indicate on your form that you are partially unemployed and explain your situation. In other states, such as West Virginia, you must use a separate form to apply for partial unemployment benefits. Contact your state's unemployment office to find out how to file your partial unemployment benefit claim.

Work Requirements

Most unemployed people must search for new work to continue qualifying for unemployment. If you have partial unemployment, however, you may not be required to search for a new job because you do have a job. Your employer must certify each week that you are still working for him and that he was unable to provide you with full-time employment. You must also report your wages each week so your unemployment office can determine your total benefit.

Calculating Benefits

Each state has a formula for calculating partial unemployment benefits. Usually the state subtracts an earnings allowance from your total wages and then subtracts the remainder of your earnings from your full benefit amount. For example, if your full benefit amount would be $450 and your earnings allowance is $150, if you earn $200, you have gone over your allowance by $50 and thus your benefits for that week will be reduced by $50.



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