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If You Have 2 Jobs and Are Laid Off From One, Can You Collect Unemployment Benefits?

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Unemployment benefits are cash payouts made by state governments to workers who have recently lost their job and who are currently searching for a new one. These benefits are designed to help a person cope with a loss of income and pay his bills while devoting his energies to gaining new employment. Under certain circumstances, a person with two jobs who is laid off from one may qualify for unemployment benefits.

Benefit Qualifications

To receive benefits, a person must have recently lost employment and seen his wages reduced. The amount of unemployment compensation a worker who has lost one of his two jobs receives will depend in large part on how much he is currently earning now as compared to how much he was making before being laid off. It will also depend on how and when he is currently being paid for the job that he still holds.

Compensation Reduction

The amount of benefits that a person receives is calculated based on how much the person is receiving in salary now versus how much she was receiving before the layoff. If she is making too much money now, then she will not be eligible for benefits. So, if the job that a person remains at is paying her too much money, she will not be able to collect benefits. However, if the job is low-paying, she might.

Compensation Structure

Whether a person can receive unemployment can depend not just on how much he receives but when he receives it. Recipients of benefits are required to refile for benefits each "pay period" -- usually one to two weeks. If the person made money within that pay period, he might not qualify for benefits or only for a smaller amount. So a person with two jobs might be paid within certain pay periods and therefore sometimes be ineligible for benefits.


If a person is paid within some pay periods but not others, she may be eligible to receive benefits for the weeks in which she is not paid, but not in the weeks in which she is paid. Laws about when a person can receive benefits and for how long vary by state. To determine whether an individual is eligible to receive benefits, the person must check with her state unemployment agency.


Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.

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