Wednesday, April 4, 2012

How Do I Complete a Pennsylvania Unemployment Questionnaire Relating to Independent Contractor or Self-Employed Status??

Am I Self-Employed or an Independent Contractor Under Pennsylvania Unemployment Law?

If Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Service Center becomes aware that you have earned 1099 wages, it will likely send to you a Questionnaire.  If you have received a Questionnaire from the Service Center, there are a few critical things to keep in mind.

·         The Questionnaire is designed to cover 3-5 different scenarios, only one or two of which may be applicable to you – that is why some of the questions appear not to make sense;

·         You need to understand the difference between “Sideline Employment,” the “Independent Contractor” test and the meaning of the term “Self-Employed” before you complete the Questionnaire;

·         You need to understand who the “Employer” is when answering the Questionnaire.  That is why understanding the aforementioned 3 terms is critical;

·         You need to “pick your poison” before you answer the Questionnaire – are you going to say you have a Sideline Business, or that you did not work as an Independent Contractor, or that you did not operate a business and therefore were not Self -Employed – these 3 “defenses” sometimes are mutually exclusive in whole or in part,

·         Whatever you say in answering the Questionnaire will remain part of the record, and will be “used against you” at any subsequent Unemployment Compensation Hearing.  So, if you “pick the wrong defense,” or are mistaken in your answers, you could end up losing an otherwise winnable case.

We hope this Blog will enable you to understand the issues at hand.  However, they are quite complex.  If you need assistance understanding your defenses, and how to answer the Questionnaire, call me.  I regularly help people complete Questionnaires correctly doe a reasonable fee.

Have other Unemployment-related Questions?  Click Here to go to our FAQ page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Thank you for the good information. I was laid off from a long-time regular employer (ad agency), and granted PA UC benefits. I am a writer, and two of my previous clients (through the ad agency) have asked me to work a few hours independently. I am currently conducting a job search to replace the W-2 position I lost, and do not intend to ever be completely self-employed. I took the few independent hours of work, even though I knew it would reduce my benefit amount for the week, because I viewed it as "doing my part" to try to support myself, akin to getting a short-term job at the local gas station. Now I'm wondering, when I report these independent hours will PA UC cut me off completely and permanently?

If they don't cut me off, how will benefits be affected if I continue to accept a few hours of work here and there while I search for a w-2 job?

This is the first time I've ever been unemployed in 27 years. I hope you can answer soon because I'm panicking!

Thank you,