In this article, we will answer the question “Can Freelancers File for Unemployment?”
We can all agree that times can be challenging, and freelancers can often find themselves unemployed.
There are a few things to consider before you file your unemployment claim as a freelancer.
Read on to learn more about how it works!
What is Unemployment Insurance, and Who Qualifies for It?
Unemployment insurance is also known as “UI.”
It can be a lifesaver for those who have lost their jobs and can’t find new ones.
Unemployment insurance is only available in certain countries, but the U.S., Canada, many European Union countries provide it to qualified employees.
To qualify for unemployment insurance, you must have been employed by a qualifying employer for a sufficient amount of time.
Freelancers can file for unemployment if they have been employed by qualifying employers in the past.
Still, it can be tricky to qualify depending on their status as an employee or independent contractor.
As a freelancer, you may not meet the criteria because your work is usually project-based, and its duration can be inconsistent.
However, the unemployment laws have changed in many countries and states due to COVID-19, making it easier for freelancers to file for unemployment.
Some countries and states that never previously allowed freelancers to qualify for unemployment now provide unemployment insurance.
This is because more people than ever are working as freelancers.
The internet has made it very easy to start a freelance career.
As a result, many countries now provide unemployment insurance.
They recognize that freelancers are at risk of being unemployed and in need of support.
When Should You File for Unemployment?
There can be many factors that can influence your decision.
If you have been unemployed for a long time and cannot find work with sufficient effort, it can make sense to file for unemployment insurance.
It can take some time before the process is complete, so don’t wait until the last minute!
There can be a lot of shame associated with unemployment, but it can be a good thing.
It can help with the transition into finding new work while still being able to support yourself financially.
How to File a Claim for Unemployment Benefits?
This will depend on what country you live in.
If you’re located within the U.S., it will also depend on what state you live in.
In the U.S., you can file an online claim for unemployment insurance through your state’s Department of Employment Security (DES) website.
Each state calls its unemployment insurance office something different, but the benefit is called unemployment insurance.
If you’re located outside of the U.S., things can be a little more complicated!
Many countries have their own unemployment rules and requirements, so we encourage you to contact your local employment office for assistance.
If you can’t find work, or if you want to know how and when freelancers can file their claims, then read on!
Tips on How to Make the Process Easier
You can’t get unemployment insurance benefits until you file a claim.
The process can be confusing and complex, so here are some tips on making it more manageable!
- Use the Internet: There is information available online for many countries/states to help you understand the criteria, benefit amounts, payment duration, and more about what to expect.
- Know Your Rights: There can be different laws in place for freelancers when filing claims for unemployment insurance.
- Know Your Qualifications: You’ll also need to meet specific qualifications before you can file for unemployment insurance.
- File Early: You can’t get benefits until you file a claim, so be sure to file as soon as possible if you believe submitting the claim will lead to being approved.
- Keep Records: It can also help to keep up-to-date records of all your work and any projects that can be used to support your claim.
- Be Persistent: If you can’t find work or don’t qualify for unemployment insurance, it can help to keep looking and apply everywhere that might be hiring freelancers.
- Contact the appropriate department for your state for more information on how freelancers can file for unemployment insurance benefits.
We’ve compiled a list of the employment websites for all 50 states below:
New Hampshire https://www.nhes.nh.gov/services/claimants/file.htm
North Carolina https://www.nc.gov/services/unemployment-benefits
North Dakota https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/1773
Rhode Island http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/ClaimantInfo.htm
South Dakota https://fileunemployment.org/south-dakota/
West Virginia https://workforcewv.org/unemployment
How Long Does the Application Process Take?
The application process for applying for unemployment doesn’t necessarily take long.
What does take long is the waiting period for unemployment benefits.
It can take up to two weeks or more until you hear anything back in some cases.
It can take longer depending on the state you live in and whether or not there’s a backlog of unemployment claims.
This will depend on how many people are applying for benefits at the same time as you.
What Happens After You File Your Application?
After you’ve applied for unemployment benefits, the state will usually assign an eligibility and a claim number.
This can take two to four weeks, depending on whether or not there is a large backlog of applications at your local office.
The local office may approve or deny your application.
If it’s approved, you can expect to receive your first payment in due time.
The time this takes will vary from state to state and country to country.
If it is denied, you can try and reapply for benefits.
How Can You Tell If Your Application is Approved?
If the state approves your claim, it will send an email or a letter to notify you.
You can also check online using their website for updates on your information at any time.
How Can You Tell If Your Application is Denied?
If the state denies your claim, it will send an email or a letter with instructions on appealing and reapplying.
What Are Some Common Reasons People Don’t Qualify for Unemployment Insurance?
The most common reasons people can’t get unemployment insurance include:
- Quitting your job for personal reasons.
- Refusing suitable work when it becomes available.
- Not working long enough in the last year to be eligible (usually one full calendar quarter).
- It is reported that you were fired, laid off, or quit your job voluntarily.
What Happens if You’re No Longer Eligible?
It may be that you were approved by the state and began receiving payments, then you no longer qualify for unemployment due to a change of circumstances.
This can happen if you found work or the reason that caused you to be unemployed in the first place disappeared.
In this scenario, it’s essential to notify the state to stop sending money out in error.
You can do this by contacting your local office and asking how to cancel payments.
If you do not notify the state, you may owe back payments that they can’t recoup from you.
The Bottom Line
Can freelancers file for unemployment?
As a freelancer, the requirements are going to be different depending on the state you live in.
Some states may require that freelancers have worked for a certain number of hours each week, while others might not have any requirements at all.
You can check with your unemployment office to determine your eligibility and to see if they offer benefits for freelancers.
It’s also important to note that some states may offer different eligibility levels depending on whether you’re considered part-time or full-time as a freelancer.
Freelancers can apply for unemployment in most states.
It can take up to two weeks or more until you hear anything back in some cases, and the waiting period can be longer depending on your state of residence and how many people are applying for benefits at the same time.