What You Need to Know about Unemployment Benefits

by wpengine on October 29, 2013 in Job Search Tips, Staffing


There are many benefits to taking a temporary job, including gaining new marketable skills, increasing your professional network and the ability to try out a potential new employer before you commit long term. Temporary work is an excellent way to bridge the gap and can help you successfully “land” in the right job for you. It can be confusing if you are already collecting unemployment benefits, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from taking a potential temp job. Unemployment-Benefit--FreeDigitalPhotos

The first step, when considering a temporary job should be for you to contact your local unemployment office to gather information.

You will need to know:

  • How taking a temporary job will affect your status
  • The total amount of benefits you are currently eligible to receive each month
  • What percentage of that benefit you are allowed to earn without affecting your status
  • How to accurately report temporary income
  • What the process will be for resuming your full claim once a temporary job ends

In most cases, even if you are already collecting unemployment, you will find out that you can work as a temp and still be eligible to collect partial benefits. In Delaware for example, you are permitted to earn up to 50% of your weekly benefit without any deduction from your benefits. In Pennsylvania, you may earn up to 30% with no impact.

Even if you are earning more than the allowed percentage in your state, you may still be allowed to collect partial payments. For example, let’s say you are eligible to receive $500 per month in unemployment benefits, but take a temporary job which brings in $350 per month. Depending on your state, even though you will be exceeding the percentage you are allowed to earn and collect full benefits, you typically can still collect the balance of $150 per month.

Tax-Form-FreeDigitalPhotosA common mistake that can jeopardize your status and benefits is failing to report income from temporary work. You need to report income from all sources, including from a temp job.

Once your temporary assignment ends, make sure you notify your local unemployment office and you can resume collecting full benefits, as long as your claim is still open. It’s a good rule of thumb to make sure that you work at any temporary job until the end date for that assignment. Quitting a temporary job or leaving for any voluntary reason could affect your eligibility.

Working while collecting unemployment has many benefits and will help you as you’re navigating into your next job. Armed with the information you need, you can identify a recruiter in your area and let them help you with your job search.

Blog Note: Each state has different rules about working while collecting unemployment. Make sure you call your local office to find out what applies to you when working while on unemployment and what you’re permitted to collect. You may also want to ask if your benefits will be affected if you turn down a job, even a temporary one, while receiving unemployment benefits. 

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