Misclassified as an Independent Contractor

When employers incorrectly classify workers who are employees as independent contractors, it’s called “misclassification.” If you are misclassified as an independent contractor, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. If you believe that you’ve been misclassified, we encourage you to apply for benefits, and we will determine your eligibility.

For more information on employee versus independent contractor status, visit Employment Status Portal.

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

If you believe that you meet eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits, including having been paid enough wages by an employer, the fastest way to apply is through UI OnlineSM. You can also apply by phone or by mailing or faxing the paper application form. If you do not apply through UI Online, allow extra time for processing.   

You must provide details about your last employer when you apply for benefits.

  • In UI Online, select your last employer from a list provided. If your last employer is not listed, you will be prompted to provide the name, address, and contact information for your last employer.
  • By paper or phone, you will need to provide the name, address, and contact information for your last employer.

After we process your application, we will send you a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Award (DE 429Z). Review this notice carefully to make sure that all employers you worked for during the quarters shown are listed. We compare the information on your application with the wages your employers report to us.

You must contact us if you disagree with information in the table on the award notice, including:

  • Your wages are missing or incorrect.
  • An employer is not listed or an employer is listed for which you did not work (and you were not a federal employee).

To contact us, mail a letter to the mailing address on the front of your notice within 30 calendar days of the “Mail Date” printed at the top of the notice. If you do not contact us within 30 days, you may miss your opportunity to let us know that your claim should be investigated to determine if your award amount should be changed. We may extend the 30-day period for good cause.

Please provide your full name, address, and Social Security number. Also, include proof of wages (including a W-2 or 1099, pay stubs, cash receipts, or other documents showing your earnings) and any employment information you want to add to your claim. If you did not work for an employer in the table, provide a statement that you did not work for a listed employer.

Important: If you don’t notify us of any inaccurate employment or wage information on the award notice, you may be subject to an overpayment and other disqualifications and penalties if you intentionally withhold information.

If you have wages that have not been reported to us, you can contact us to investigate.

The best way to request an investigation is to log in to your UI Online account and select Contact from the main menu. Give a brief summary of why you disagree and provide information about your wages.

We will follow up with you and your employer for any details needed to make a determination. It takes several weeks to collect the information, investigate, and notify you of your eligibility for benefits. You will receive a call from us. Return any messages quickly so we can determine if you qualify.

If you request wages to be added to your claim, we will mail you an Affidavit of Wages (DE 23A) to return with proof of the wages you earned for a past employer. There are penalties for giving us false information, which may include administrative penalties and fines in addition to criminal prosecution.

After you receive the affidavit:

  1. Fill out the affidavit completely.
  2. Sign the affidavit.
  3. Gather your proof of earnings, such as pay records, Form 1099, W-2, or pay stubs.
  4. Fax or mail the completed and signed affidavit, along with your proof of earnings, to us using the fax number or mailing address provided on the affidavit.

If we can’t obtain your earnings from your former employers, we may be able to use the signed affidavit and proof of earnings that you provide to file your unemployment claim. If wages are added to your claim, you will receive a Notice of Amended Unemployment Insurance Award. If you believe the amended notice is incorrect, you can contact us to request a reconsideration of, or protest the accuracy of, the wages or claim.

Note: There are penalties for giving us false information, which may include administrative penalties and fines, in addition to criminal prosecution.

Other Assistance Programs

You may qualify for other State programs to help cover food, housing, and healthcare expenses.

For Employers

Get information on layoff alternatives, preventing fraud, and more.

Additional Resources

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