The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

can you work part time while receiving unemployment?

Short Answer:
Majority of the states, territories and districts, hereafter referred to as a state or states, allow continued unemployment compensation while working part time only if someone continues to seek full time employment. You will need to know your state?s guidelines for unemployment qualification and the application procedures.

Expanded Answer:
Every state manages and distributes unemployment compensation funds. Every state has an eligibility application policy, a compensation calculation formula, a base line calendar period of full time employment prior to unemployment, a minimum income amount earned before unemployment, a weekly cap on payable unemployment compensation, and a limit on the consecutive length of time unemployment can be collected by any one claimant. Part time income must be reported on the weekly status worksheet for continued unemployment compensation. Depending on the state, if you work part time, you may: (1) be able to continue receiving all of your unemployment; (2) receive reduced unemployment checks; or (3) see all of your unemployment checks eliminated.

Defining Part Time:
Each state defines part time for the state using a number of methods. Most states rule that anyone working less than 35 hours a week is a part time employee. In NJ if someone is employed 32 or more hours a week, that person is deemed to be gainfully employed and the unemployment payments are stopped. MA allows part time self employment but stops all unemployment compensation when the time becomes full time work. NY reduces compensation by 25% for every day during any work week when a recipient earns money.

Uniform Stipulations:
While qualifying for and collecting unemployment compensation is based on state specific rules, there are a few qualification stipulations that are standard across the states.
(1) Unemployment compensation is available for individuals who lost their full time employment through no fault of their own.
(2) While receiving unemployment compensation, the recipient agrees to continue seeking full time work, even if the full time work is in another career field from the prior employment.
(3) Unemployment compensation is paid through the state where the prior work was performed, not where the employee lives. For example, someone who lives in Ohio but works in West Virginia will apply to the West Virginia Unemployment Compensation office. You do not have the option of filing in the state that has the higher unemployment compensation; you must file in the location where you earned your income.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Recent Employment & Labor Law Articles