Your Guide to Collecting Unemployment While Working Part-time

May 3, 2021
min read

As many unemployed workers are itching to get back to work, the one thing holding them back is the risk of not being able to pay bills or provide for their families with a steady weekly paycheck. The question many are asking is, Can I work part-time and still collect unemployment?”

The short answer is: YES...IN CERTAIN CASES.

Many state legislators are adjusting eligibility requirements in order to encourage individuals to seek out part-time work, while still being able to provide for their families with supplemental income. With complicated guidelines varying state-by-state, we’ve outlined what you need to know below. 

Please note this information was collected on April 30, 2021. Eligibility guidelines and information below may have been updated since so please refer to your state’s Department of Labor website directly for the most up to date and accurate information. Jitjatjo is not responsible for the information provided and all individuals should conduct their own analysis related to the impact of work on unemployment payments. Jitjatjo is not liable in any manner for any reduction or loss of benefits based on accepting employment.


Not every person who's out of work is eligible to receive  unemployment benefits. Exact eligibility requirements vary by state but guidelines generally include: 

  • You must meet your state's minimum earnings requirements. To qualify, employees must have worked a certain amount and/or worked a minimum amount of time prior to becoming unemployed.

  • You must be actively looking for work. Many states require that, if you are able and available to work, you must look for work in order to continue receiving benefits.

  • You must be out of work through no fault of your own. If you quit your job without good cause or if you were fired for misconduct,  you may not qualify. 

Find your state unemployment insurance office to learn more about eligibility in your state.


Eligibility for partial unemployment varies state to state but in many cases an employee will be eligible under the following circumstances:

  • You are underemployed or working part-time, not by choice.

  • You may be eligible if you lost your full-time job and have only been able to find occasional or limited part-time work.

  • Depending on your state's rules, you may be eligible for partial benefits if you had two part-time jobs and lost one of them.

  • You meet your state's minimum earnings or minimum hours worked requirements. These are the same whether you apply for regular or partial unemployment benefits.

  • You are able and available to work more.


Many states allow you to work part-time while collecting unemployment as long as certain requirements are met. We’ve outlined partial unemployment benefit guidelines for the states where Flex by Jitjatjo has been providing flex work for talent. Check out a full guide of benefits for all states here. 

Connecticut Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know: 

Thousands in Connecticut who receive unemployment benefits will be eligible for an additional seven weeks of benefits under the federal High Extended Benefits program, according to the state Department of Labor. This will bring about 28,000 state extended benefits unemployment filers from 13 weeks to 20 weeks.

To receive partial benefits in Connecticut, you must establish monetary eligibility* in addition to the following:

  • You must be able to work and available for work as defined by law.

  • The number of hours you are working or worked during a week must be less than the number of hours customarily considered full-time for that job and/or employer.

  • The reason for working less than full-time must be lack of work or because the job is part-time by choice of the employer.

  • If you are working part-time, your weekly benefit rate will be reduced by an amount equal to two-thirds (2/3) of your gross wages for that week, rounded to the nearest dollar.

*Monetary eligibility is directly related to a claimant’s prior wages (during the base period). The most common “base period” is a consecutive 12 months comprising the first four of the last five previously completed calendar quarters preceding the quarter in which a claim is filed.

Learn more about Connecticut state guidelines and how to file a claim.

 Illinois Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know:

  • You are allowed to earn up to 50% of your weekly benefits amount from any job that is part-time, either permanent or temporary. Your benefits will be reduced if you earn more than 50% of your weekly benefits.

  • For example, if your weekly benefit amount is $300, you may earn up to $150 per week from your part-time job. If you get more than $150, your benefits will be decreased and you will not get your maximum possible amount.
  • You may claim some benefits for a week if you work less than full-time because of lack of work. Your earnings for the week must be less than the weekly benefit amount (this amount does not include a dependent allowance) you would receive if you were totally unemployed for the week. You must report all of your earnings from part-time work.

 For more information see the state of Illinois Unemployment Insurance Benefit handbook.

 Learn more about Illinois state guidelines and how to file a claim.

New Jersey Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know

  • To be eligible for partial benefits, you cannot work more than 80 percent of the hours normally worked in the job. For example, if you worked a 40-hour week, you won't be able to get benefits if you work more than 32 hours.

  • If your employer offers additional hours that you choose not to accept, your benefits may be affected.
  • If you earn 20 percent or less of your weekly benefit rate from an employer, you can still receive your full weekly benefit rate (WBR) for that week.
    However, the state will not pay you more than your weekly benefit rate.

  • Report your gross earnings and all hours worked for the week in which they were earned, not when they are paid.

*Gross Earnings: wages you earn before taxes are taken out. Claimants paid hourly compute this as the hourly rate multiplied by the amount of hours worked. 

Learn more about New Jersey state guidelines and how to file a claim.

New York Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know

Back in January, Governor Cuomo announced his proposal to boost partial unemployment benefits as part of the 2021 State of the State. The new plan would make it easier for part-time workers to qualify for more benefits while reducing employers’ contribution to the system. The new system would take an hours based approach allowing someone to work a few hours without getting penalized for a full day (the previous system counted part-time work in full-day increments).

Here are the new rules for collecting partial unemployment in New York:

  • New York’s new system uses an “hours-based” approach.

  • You can work up to 7 days per week without losing full unemployment benefits for that week, if you work 30 hours or fewer and earn $504 or less in gross pay excluding earnings from self-employment.

  • With this change, your benefits will not be reduced for each day you engage in part-time work. Instead, benefits will be reduced in increments based on your total hours of work for the week.

Learn more about New York State guidelines and how to file a claim.

Pennsylvania Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know

  • You may work part-time and possibly receive an unemployment benefit for the week. Payment amount is determined using your partial benefit credit (PBC)

  • PBC is 30% of your weekly benefit rate (WBR).

  • Your WBR and your PBC are added together, and then any earnings you report are subtracted from that total. You are paid the difference, but you cannot be paid more than your weekly benefit rate for any week.

           WBR + PBC (30%) - Earnings (Sun-Sat) = Your Estimated Payment

Learn more about Pennsylvania State guidelines and how to file a claim.

Washington DC Partial Benefits - What You Need to Know

  • You can receive unemployment if you are working part-time.

  • The formula is to add $50 your weekly unemployment amount and subtract 66 percent of your gross weekly wages. Then, round down.

Learn more about Washington D.C. guidelines and how to file a claim.


Now that you’re up to speed on your state unemployment guidelines, Flex by Jitjatjo can help you find your next gig! Flex was designed to help talent find flexible work providing opportunities in the hospitality, education, facilities management and healthcare sectors.  Flex will match you with jobs based on your skills, experience and preferences. With Flex, you set your availability and choose when you work. The mobile onboarding process is simple and the interview process is fast and efficient. Once hired you will have access to unlimited gigs as well as complimentary training to help expand your skills and unlock higher pay rates.

Download Flex to learn more and get started!

Pandemic Unemployment Term Glossary

If you’re confused by the countless acronyms and terms thrown around relating to unemployment benefits, we’re with you! We put together the outline below to help guide you through.

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

Temporary income for eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Each state runs its own system and determines eligibility, duration, maximum and minimum benefit. 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which provided additional flexibility for state unemployment insurance agencies and additional administrative funding to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act)

On March 27th, 2020, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed which states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including for workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits. The CARES Act created the following new unemployment programs:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Provides unemployment compensation to workers who have typically been found ineligible for UI benefits (e.g., self-employed workers, independent contractors). Reasons workers qualify for PUA include:

  • Lost part or all of pre-pandemic work due to COVID-19
  • Had to quit a job, can’t return to a job or find a new job due to COVID-19
  • Can’t work because they’re caring for a child whose school/child care is closed due to COVID-19
  • They’ve been diagnosed, are caring for someone or under quarantine due to COVID-19

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
Under FPUC, eligible people who collect certain unemployment insurance benefits, including regular unemployment compensation, receive an extra $600 in federal benefits each week through July 25, 2020.* See ARPA for benefit extension details. 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
An additional 13 weeks of UI benefits, beyond the regular 26 weeks that most states provide, for a total of 39 weeks of coverage. * See ARPA for benefit extension details. 

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was passed by the 117th United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021, to speed up the United States' recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing recession. First proposed on January 14, 2021, the package builds upon many of the measures in the CARES Act from March 2020 and in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, from December. ARPA extends the following unemployment insurance (UI) benefits until September 6:

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) - $300/week on top of other unemployment benefits

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) - Provides additional federal benefit of $100 per week for people who are both W-2 employees and self-employed and have earned at least $5,000 in net earnings in the tax year prior to when the applicant filed for regular unemployment benefits

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) - after state unemployment insurance benefits are exhausted, PEUC extends the duration of benefits to 53 weeks

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) - benefits for self-employed people and other unemployed people deemed ineligible for state benefits, up to 79 weeks (or in high unemployment states, up to 86 weeks)

Short Term Compensation (STC) 

STC also known as work sharing or shared-work program, is an alternative to layoffs for employers experiencing a reduction in available work. STC allows employers to reduce hours of work for employees rather than laying-off some employees while others continue to work full time

For unemployed workers who may need to pay taxes on their UI benefits, the ARPA exempts the first $10,200 of unemployment insurance benefits paid in 2020 for household incomes less than $150,000

Extended Benefits (EB)

Available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment compensation (UC) during periods of high insured unemployment. The basic EB program provides up to thirteen (13) additional weeks of benefits when a state is experiencing high unemployment. Some States have also enacted a voluntary program to pay up to 7 additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

What does it mean to be “able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work”?

To qualify as "able" to work, an employee must be physically and mentally capable of work. "Available to work" means there is nothing preventing the employee from accepting a new job, should one come along. “Actively seeking work” means you must undertake an active job search. What constitutes an adequate job search depends on your field and each state verifies a job search in different ways.


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