Starting a Business

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?
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
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.

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