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Virginia Unemployment Compensation Recipients; Do Not Engage in Temporary Self-Employment*

Many unemployment recipients, who have not been able to find a suitable job, start working independently on a temporary basis to relieve boredom and depression, while they continue to look for suitable full-time work as a regular employee. While there are several states and jurisdictions (such as the District of Columbia, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Idaho to name a few ) where this attempt at self-employment will not necessarily disqualify recipients from receiving unemployment compensation, Virginia is not among those jurisdictions. In Virginia, such self-employment will disqualify a person from continuing to receive unemployment compensation even if he or she earns little or no income and/or spends little time on the work.

This is so because under section 60.2-226 of Virginia's unemployment statute, the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) does not consider such a recipient unemployed as long as he or she is spending time at such temporary self-employment, regardless of whether or not the person is able to earn anything. The VEC has also decided that it makes no difference if the recipient works full time or part time since a self-employed person is in control of his or her hours.

Thus, it is best for an unemployment compensation recipient to seek temporary part-time work as an employee. Part-time employees will still qualify for unemployment compensation as long as their weekly part-time earnings are below that of their weekly compensation. In computing unemployment compensation in such a situation, the VEC will deduct from your weekly benefit, the amount that you have earned as a part-time employee.

Additional resources provided by the author

*This does not apply if you qualify for assistance Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which will last until12/31/2020. https://www.dol.gov/coronavirus/unemployment-insurance#fact-sheets; https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20200405

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