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How do Earnings Deductions Work?

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2023 | Firm News

Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits if I’m Earning Some Money, But Less Than I Was Before?

Yes! If you were working full-time, had a qualifying job separation, and now you are earning much less money than you were before, you may still be eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

Your weekly benefit check will be reduced based on a formula that takes into account the money you are earning. But you may still end up receiving those benefits if your period of unemployment or underemployment lasts for a long time. At a certain point, you may earn so much money that the earnings deduction is greater than your benefit amount. If you have a week of earnings in which your benefits deduction is greater than your benefit amount, then you would not receive any unemployment benefits for that week.

Most claimants look at their benefits only in terms of their weekly claim amount. They assume that when they work and see earnings deductions that the money withheld has been erased or is gone. In reality, the weekly benefit payment is drawn out of your Maximum Payable Benefit, which is listed in the Benefits tab in your online eServices account. Unpaid benefits are simply kept in the Maximum Payable Benefit.

This means that claimants who are working part time are extending the time period in which they can receive benefits.

Similarly, some claimants will accidentally or deliberately not report income. Either this could be because they didn’t realize that ‘gross income’ includes tips, or their pay period doesn’t match with the start and stop date of unemployment weeks in Washington State (Sunday-Saturday), or they have a misconception about the weekly claim money disappearing or going away if it’s not claimed each week.

If you have multiple employers or complex earnings, consider filing your weekly claims at a later date when you have the gross income information.

The weekly claim prompt appears on Sunday, but it doesn’t disappear until after the fourth week. As long as you are doing acceptable job search activities each week and logging them appropriately, you can file your weekly claims up to four weeks later.

All Washington employers are required to report hours worked and gross income earned by employees within 30 days of the end of the fiscal quarter so the Employment Security Department will eventually find out about reported gross income discrepancies and ask you to respond to a fact-finding inquiry. If you find you haven’t reported income correctly, you can correct this even before getting a fact-finding inquiry, we can help.

If you have an overpayment because the Employment Security Department claims you failed to report gross income correctly, contact WEBA. We can help. Click here to schedule a free consultation.