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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsJanuary 24, 2009

Can seasonal self-employed people collect unemployment?

We work in the outdoor amusement industry and travel with a carnival. We have our own concession stand, but book through the carnival. When it is closed for the season we are out of work. Can we file for unemployment?
Generally, self-employed people cannot collect unemployment. Unemployment is available to those employees who are fired from their jobs. Seasonal work is akin to project work -- you were only needed for a particular period of time...so technically, you weren't fired. Your assignment merely came to an end.

However, there may be some room to play if the carnival pays you as a W-2 employee, or if you are an employee (as well as owner) of the corporation that books the concession stand. Speak to your accountant to determine your options.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq. is an award-winning New York City attorney, edutainer and author. Under her Ask The Business Lawyer brand, she reaches thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners with her legal services, professional speaking, information products, and LexAppeal weekly ezine. She also writes the Making It Legal blog.

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