Can I Collect Unemployment if My Spouse Owns a Business?

While no on is immune from economic pressures, it helps when you have a partner in bringing home the bacon. Depending on the structure of the business, a spouse that owns a business can affect your legal rights to certain benefits. However, it doesn't affect your unemployment benefits unless you are drawing dependency benefits.

Unemployment Eligibility

The eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits can vary depending on the state you live in, but there are general common requirements in every state. First, you must be unemployed or earning less money than you could collect in benefits. You can't contribute to your job separation reason, and you must be ready, willing and able to work.

Effect of Spouse’s Income

While income plays an important role in your unemployment eligibility and how much you can collect, it's only your income that affects your unemployment compensation. Your spouse's income or method of income doesn't affect your benefits. It doesn't matter if she works full-time for minimum wage, is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or has her own business.

Dependency Benefits

Some states allow an additional stipend to each payment for each dependent you're financially responsible for. This includes minor children and spouses. These payments are meant to offset the cost of supporting a family while on unemployment. The amount varies by state, but it's either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of your weekly benefit amount.

Disqualifications for Self-Employed Spouses

One of the universal requirements in states that offer dependency benefits is that you provide the financial support for any spouse you claim. That spouse also must be unemployed. So, while your regular unemployment payments aren't be affected by a spouse who owns a business, you won't qualify for any dependency benefits for her.

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