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Am I eligible? Washington

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  • Am I eligible? Washington

    I work freelance in the music industry touring with musicians. I reside in WA state, but have not held a job within the state since before 2007. In the past two years I have worked for some artists where I fill out a W-2, others are 1099. Because I have not held a job in WA, does that mean I am ineligible for unemployment through WA? I have friends in CA who have the same employment situation and are able to get unemployment through their state.

    Any insight would be helpful, thank you.

  • #2
    I can give you part of an answer. Wages reported on a W2 were likely also reported on state quarterly reports to some state's UI system. However income reported on a 1099 means that the people making the payment are claiming that you were a non-employee for purposes of those payments, and that there was no legal requirement to report that income to anyone's state UI system. I am not saying that the classifications were correct (or incorrect). I am saying that when you are classified as an employee, then you almost always have UI wages being reported somewhere. And that when you are being reported as a non-employee (1099), then you are not having your income being reported to anyone's UI system.

    Past that, I have no expertise in WA law and little expertise in UI generally. I can say that if we took 1099s off the table, and had all of your wage/income reported to a different state, say Oregon, then there is some way to get UI. I do not know your states rules. I do not know if the claim goes through the original state or through WA. If you have small amounts of money filed with many states, you might not even be eliglble.

    And 1099s muddies the water a lot. You basically have to go back and argue the classification (one "employer" at a time), and you have to win that argument before the "wages" are even reported to anyone's UI system. Arguably this is very late in the game to be deciding that you really were an employee after all. I am not saying that it is completely impossible, but at best, very difficult.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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