How to Apply for Partial Unemployment Benefits

EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IF you lose your full-time job, you can get unemployment benefits. But if you lose a part-time job or if your full-time position becomes part time, did you know that you can get partial unemployment benefits?

What Is Partial Unemployment?

Partial unemployment is exactly what it sounds like – an unemployment check that replaces part-time income. The only difference is that it won’t be as much money as an unemployment check that replaces a full-time job.

Arguably, partial unemployment benefits are needed. Plenty of Americans work part-time jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.5% of American workers over age 16 held more than one job in 2020 (in 2019, before the pandemic hit, 5.1% of workers were holding down more than one job). This may not sound like many workers, but 4.5% comes out to more than 6 million people.

A partial unemployment direct deposit generally comes into play in two scenarios. In the first scenario, you’re working a part-time job to make ends meet, and you lose that position. So while you’re looking for a new part-time gig, you could apply for partial unemployment insurance.

In the second scenario, which has been common during the pandemic, you had a full-time position but your hours were cut back, and you’re now receiving a smaller check. In that case, you may be able to apply for partial unemployment insurance.

Who Is Eligible for Partial Unemployment?

It can vary from state to state, but in general, the main requirement is that you’ve either earned enough or worked enough time to collect unemployment. In most states, you usually have to have worked a full year before being eligible for unemployment.

Generally, you are eligible for unemployment benefits, partial or full, when you are fired, furloughed, laid off, terminated or whatever your word choice is for losing a job. If you quit your part-time job or suggest to your employer that you would like to work fewer hours, generally you will not be eligible for partial unemployment benefits.

Still, if your employment situation has changed, and you think you aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits, it can’t hurt to contact your state’s unemployment office. The pandemic has changed a lot of rules, and there’s no harm in asking.

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