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Question added to topic Legal Basics For StartupsOctober 1, 2010

Can I collect unemployment from my former employer if I now own my own business?

I was recently laid off and I didn't take a salary from my business.
Generally, the act of becoming self-employed precludes you from obtaining unemployment benefits. This begins from the date you formed your company precisely because you are now employed--even if employed by yourself.

The fact that your revenues were low and that you collected no salary is not relevant. However, unemployment insurance agencies may look back over a six- to 12-month period when calculating unemployment benefits.

Had you been employed by a company other than your own and then laid off, the agency would apportion your benefits between the two companies. Because the calculation of unemployment benefits can vary from state to state, it would be worth consulting with an attorney who specializes in this area to get a clear handle on exactly what you're entitled to.

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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