Washington State Unemployment for Full-Time With Side Job?
May 23, 2020 8:50 AM   Subscribe

I think I might have reported my side job incorrectly on my unemployment benefits application, and now I'm concerned it might get in the way of my receiving benefits. Do I need to amend my application? And if so, how do I do that?

I can't get through the phone line for the Washington unemployment department, so figured I'd try here!

I work a full-time job in Washington state that was furloughed 20%, but I also do some independent contractor work on the side (in Oregon). When I originally filed, I noted both sources of income, but there didn't seem to be a clear way to note my freelance income as freelance. The department sent a letter to my freelance employer asking if I'd been let go, and they said no...because I wasn't a full-time employee.

Ultimately, I didn't qualify for benefits based on my earnings, so I didn't worry about their response getting in the way of anything. But my full-time company is now a part of the Shared Work program, so I'm trying to go back in and submit claims for the last several weeks.

I'm concerned that the response from my freelance employer may be problematic and make it look like I'm trying to defraud the system. It seems that I was approved anyway, I just didn't qualify based on earnings, so maybe I'm fine? Do I need to amend my application just to be clear/avoid any implication of unemployment fraud? How do I even do that? I don't see any link on the site to amend an existing application.

When I do try to submit a claim, they want to know hours/pay/etc. for that freelance job, but I'm concerned about them repeatedly asking that company and repeatedly being told they didn't let me go. What do I do?
posted by SweetAvenue to Work & Money (2 answers total)
You can ask the Washington State Unemployment Law Project a question by email or contact their free Telephone Helpline for assistance with this question, because they are a nonprofit law firm and offer advice about navigating the ESD system.
posted by katra at 9:08 AM on May 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, this is the kind of specific question about process that likely only someone who works at the employment department will be able to answer. And given how overwhelmed they are, they still might not be able to answer your question: a lot of these things are being figured out on the fly, particularly questions around freelance income, because of the federal expansion of benefits that made freelancers eligible for unemployment (traditionally they are not).

In addition to the resources above, I'd do a search on Facebook to see if there's a Washington Unemployment Support Group -- the Oregon Facebook group has been helpful to me in seeing other people's experiences and figuring out what works to get answers while the department remains overwhelmed.

I'm sorry that I can't give you an answer to your question, but I hope it helps you to know that you're not alone in trying to get answers and finding it incredibly hard to do so.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 11:55 AM on May 23, 2020

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