Sunday, October 18, 2009

Part Time Blogging and Unemployment Benefits

This article from Forbes caught my eye and I figured would interest many of my readers:
Does writing a blog constitute work? That appears to be the position of the New York Department of Labor, which recently declared a laid-off attorney ineligible for unemployment benefits because she was bringing in $1.30 a day from blog ads.
It seems this woman, a 2008 law school graduate, was laid off from a New York firm after only six months on the job, moved to St. Louis and started a blog about restaurant deals. She was collecting unemployment from New York State when she received her first check from Google AdSense for $100. Like any good lawyer, she thought New York would like to know about this financial development. Nope. First they reduced her benefits by $100 and then they stopped them entirely while they determined whether she was unemployed.

The good news is as of yesterday the situation was remedied. I'm thinking the attention from Forbes might have helped. Ruling that the blog was more of an online portfolio for the blogger to search for work and the income residual, New York restored her unemployment benefits.

I'm glad the situation worked out for her. It sucks she was laid off so soon from graduating law school. I have heard so many similar stories of lawyers who graduated in the class of 2008 and 2009 either being laid off or unable to find work. I can't imagine having to pay back these kind of student loans and not having a job. Well actually I can imagine it, but it wouldn't be good.


Jake Stichler said...

What's odd about their second action is that in PA, I don't think they would even do that. They'd probably just knock down your benefits by $100 while considering you underemployed rather than unemployed.

On the twenty-seventh hand, blogging could (for most people, anyway) be considered legally (tax-wise) as a hobby rather than a business. Only, in this case, rather than a hobby that loses money, it's one that makes money.

So, no, IRS, I don't intend on reporting my blog income to you, since you wouldn't let me write off the expenses if I was losing money :-P

Shtinkykat said...

The unemployment office thinks one can live off of $1.30/day? Unbelievable. I'm glad she got her benefits restored.

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