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  • You would think that filing for unemployment would be a rather straightforward process. “Yes sir, I lost my job. Here is my contract termination”, “thank you sir, yes you do/or don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. You will receive $xxx for a maximum of xxx weeks or until you find work”. However, reality is much more complicated. Knowing whether you qualify for benefits, how much you will receive in benefits or what information you should report to the unemployment office is often difficult to know and usually involves enough clauses, exceptions and formulas to give a math major a headache.

    Take for instance these questions:

    – Can I collect unemployment benefits while I work part time?

    – Do I have to report holiday or vacation pay?

    Unless you’re an officer with the Washington Employment Security department you are unlikely to know the correct answers to these apparently straight forward questions. If you may be affected by these questions, read on. You may be surprised at the answers.

    Can I collect unemployment benefits in Washington State while working part time?

    Yes, but you will have to pay for the privilege. Well, that is unfair. It would be more accurate to say the Washington ESD will reduce your employment benefits for the privilege. Your wallet, however, will not be able to tell the difference. The general formula to calculate how much the Washington unemployment office will reduce your benefits by is your gross earnings minus $5 multiplied by 0.75. For instance, if you earn $105 on any given week, your unemployment benefits will be reduced by $75. If this formula is to hard for you to follow, the Washington State Employment Security Department has prepared an earnings deduction chart you can use. Click here to view the earnings deduction chart.

    On the positive side, taking on a part time job while you receive unemployment benefits can extend the number of weeks you are eligible for benefits. Also, you can use the income you receive from your part-time job to qualify for another benefits claim once the current benefits years ends.

    Note that if you were working part time when you

    Do I have to report holiday or vacation pay?

    Yes and no. See what I mean about unemployment benefits questions? Yes you do have to report holiday pay and you must do it on the week you took the holiday not when you received the holiday pay. However, if you receive accrued vacation pay when your employment is terminated and the vacation was not for any specific date, you do not need to report it. If the vacation was for a specific date, you must report it on the week the vacation occurred.

    The Washington Employment Security Department determines the eligibility of workers to unemployment benefits on a set of requirements. Even if your claim for unemployment benefits has already been approved, you can lose your claim if you do not follow the agency’s requirements. This article will provide some tips on how to keep your benefits by summarizing some of the most common reasons why workers lose their UI benefits in Washington State.

    Register for Work

    Unemployment benefits are meant for workers who are searching for work. If you are taking some time off work to study or to take care of your family, you may qualify for other types of benefits but not for unemployment benefits. One of the main eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance is to be willing and able to work. If you do not register for work, the Employment Security Department will consider that as evidence that your are not willing to work because you are not taking active steps to search for work.

    File a Change of Address

    If you move to another state and you are receiving unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department, you must file a change of address the week you file a weekly claims from another state. Some workers fail to file a change of address because they fear their claim will be cancelled. However this is not true. The unemployment insurance agency will continue to pay your benefits although you live in another state as long as you register for work in your local area.

    Accept a Suitable Job

    Another big misconception among unemployed workers is that they must accept any job that comes their way or they will lose their benefits. This is not true. You do not have to accept a job that is not suitable.  What is considered suitable? This will depend on your training, experience and personal circumstances.

    For instance, if the job offered is not in line with your training and experience, you may not have to accept it. Notice that what is considered suitable may change as time goes by and you have still not found a job. A job may also be considered unsuitable if you must resign from a labor union to accept it, it is unreasonable dangerous or the work would offend your religious beliefs or moral conscience.

    Report Part-Time Work

    If you work part time while you are receiving benefits you must report it to the Employment Security Department. Although it is true this might reduce the amount of benefits you receive during a given week, it also can result in significant benefits to you.  For instance, it can extend the number of weeks you can draw benefits for and it might help your qualify for a new unemployment benefits claim once your current benefit year ends.

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