Labor and Employment

Can I Get Unemployment If I’m Still Working?

By Sachi Barreiro, Attorney, University of San Francisco School of Law

In most states, you can still receive unemployment benefits if you’re working part-time, as long as you report your income. You will simply receive a partial benefit. The amount varies by state. Some states will calculate your full benefit amount if you weren’t working and subtract your part-time earnings. For example, if you would be entitled to $400 per week if totally unemployed, but you are actually earning $200 per week, you would still receive $200 per week in unemployment benefits. In other words, you’ll end up with the same amount of money whether you work or not.

Other states won’t deduct the full value of your part-time earnings, though. This is to give employees incentive to accept part-time work, rather than sit at home collecting the same amount in benefits. In these states, a portion of your part-time wages won’t be factored in to your weekly benefit. In Texas, for example, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit amount without having a reduction in benefits. So, in the example above, the first $100 of your earnings (25% of $400) would not be subtracted from your weekly benefit, but the other $100 would. In other words, you would receive $300 from the state ($400 - $100) and $200 from your wages, for a total of $500.

States also differ in what is considered full-time employment. In some states, such as New York, you are considered to be fully employed—and therefore ineligible for benefits—if you are working 32 hours per week.

What you can’t do is receive unemployment benefits while working a full-time job or making money on the side without reporting it. This is considered unemployment fraud, which could lead to penalties and even jail time.

Go back to main Unemployment Compensation FAQ page

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