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Can I Collect Unemployment if I'm Self Employed?

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Question: Can I Collect Unemployment if I'm Self Employed?

Answer: In most cases, self employed workers and/or freelance workers who lose their income are not eligible for unemployment benefits. That's because employers contribute to a fund for unemployment benefits and if you are operating as self employed, you probably didn't pay into the unemployment fund.

However, if your business is incorporated and pays into unemployment you may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

If you were unemployed as a result of a major disaster you may be eligible to receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

If you're not sure whether you're eligible, check with your state unemployment office to determine your eligibility for unemployment compensation.

Self-Employment Assistance Program

There is a federal government Self-Employment Assistance program which offers unemployed workers in some states unemployment benefits when they are starting a business. The Self-Employment Assistance Program pays a self-employed allowance, instead of regular unemployment insurance benefits, to help unemployed workers while they are establishing businesses and becoming self-employed.

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