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Independent Contractor status terminating Unemployement Compensation? Pennsylvania

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  • Independent Contractor status terminating Unemployement Compensation? Pennsylvania

    Thanks in advance for your expertise.

    I am receiving unemployment compensation from PA after being laid off from a full time job.

    I have been an intern with a research group at a university. After hearing about my lay off, the research director added me to their grant for some part time hours. The research is funded through the CDC and managed by a third party.

    I reported my income in my biweekly filing. The Unemployment Commission contacted the third party to verify my employment status. They replied that I am an independent contractor. Because this is a grant funded project, there is no other option for employment status.

    I received "Advance notice: This is to notify you that the unemployment compensation benefits you have been receiving may be temporarily or permanently terminated because [agency] reports claimant is an independent contractor." There is a "claimant questionnaire # 0997" attached.

    I am just trying to build skills and get hired as a full time employee with the research team through the university. It seems ridiculous that the state would rather I sit at home and do nothing than work part time to try to get a new job.

    I expect that I will be judged to be an independent contractor. What does that mean for my benefits? What is my best course of action under these circumstances?

    Thanks again for your response.

  • #2
    That's interesting, because years ago I handled the accounting for grant-funded projects, and our workers were always employees.

    For unemployment purposes, however, I don't know what difference it would make, as long as you are not engaged in a business where you do this kind of work of other companies, and you continue to report your income on your biweekly certifications. The state is probably trying to decide if you are spending time of "running a business" and therefore not looking for, or available for, a reasonable job offer as an employee.
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