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 Mystery Shopping and Unemployment Claims- How do I claim it as self employment?
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Star Contributor

Rapid City, SD
845 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2003 :  9:22:44 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been drawing unemployment for a little bit now and have been claiming my earnings on my unemployment. I claimed last week and stated that I had no jobs scheduled, so when it asked if I was still working, I clicked No. The unemployment office contacted me and wanted the information for the company I did the mystery shopping for, so they could contact them. I don't want that to happen. I know in most IC's it says that you can not use them for unemployment purposes. In the week, I had done some small fast food shops. The unemployment agency now doesn't understand if I am "employed" by the company or if I am self employed. They have no idea what an Independant Contractor is. They see it as I am receiving checks FROM XXXX Company, with their name on the check, therefor I am employed by XXXX Company. How in the world do I make it clear to them I am NOT an employee? They want to contact the company I did work for last week and see what the deal is. I can't explain to them enough that they will get the "she is NOT employed here.." message. Does anyone know what I can do to make them "see the light?"

Silver Shopper ID# 3akxzg Shopping Rapid City South Dakota and surrounding areas!

Star Contributor

Oxnard, CA
1641 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2003 :  9:40:16 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Umm, that is a sticky one. Perhaps you could show them what an indepedant contract agreement looks like? Maybe that will help?

CALIFORNIA- Oxnard, Camarillo, Ventura, Port Hueneme and neighboring cities
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Star Contributor

Placentia, CA
455 Posts

Posted - 12/23/2003 :  9:52:11 PM  Send VickiC an AOL message  Reply  Reply with Quote
You are self employed. Tell them it is like any other self employed person who provides a service to a company and is paid. My husband was unemployed all this last year and did some consulting. He had no problems reporting the income from that even though his check was from a company who was not his employer.

Shopping North Orange County, Gold Certified
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Peter T. Sanderson
Valued Contributor

Pawley's Island, SC
150 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2003 :  07:09:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Self enployed means your employer is YOU.

Are you still employed? = YES

How much did you make? = $0
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New York City, NY
1700 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2003 :  08:05:46 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Yes, I agree. As an IC, you are employed (by yourself), but if you had no assignments in the weeks claimed, $0.00 can be claimed. In NY/NJ Unemployment uses an automated phone system.
I would take all of your IC Agreements and payment records, to the local unemployment office. They know what an IC is. You must report everything that you have earned, as an IC. If your are upfront, and show and report everything - in person, there should be no problem.
If they see that you had work, even the smallest shop (and did not report it) they will want to investigate, and contact the companies who "contract" you.
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211 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2003 :  09:21:15 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Your answers are at the Unemployment office...not here...some of the previous advice has been correct and some has been wrong...asking in this forum will lead to multiple opinions...and some will always been wrong...Go in person to the office and they will solve your dilemma
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Star Contributor

Tampa Bay Area, FL
343 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2003 :  12:51:55 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Just a thought -- I am wondering if you originally reported your employment status and/or source of income correctly. I collected unemployment a couple of years ago and while doing so earned income from what was categorized as "temporary/occassional/freelance" jobs. I wrote that phrase on every form that I filled out where I was reporting my income, and I never had a problem with them questioning my (un)employment status. Merely having an income source does not necessarily equate to being employed. In my experience, the staff was well aware of this type of situation. If the person you are dealing with does not understand the concept, ask to speak to someone else or visit in person to work it out.
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Valued Contributor

West Plains, Missouri
197 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2007 :  9:05:34 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
When the IC agreement states that you cannot use it for Unemployment purposes, that does not mean you can't declare the income. It means that you cannot draw unemployment on the your IC income.
I ran into the same situation when I first started MSing. I also received a call from the unemployment office and then went down there with copies of my IC agreements and print outs of my income from each MS company. They resolved the matter pretty quick and I didn't have anymore problems.

happily shopping southern Missouri and northern Arkansas
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Karen C

89 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2012 :  11:34:35 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I am collecting unemployment benefits,and in TEXAS the Texas Workforce Commission insists that you are not self-employed as a mystery shopper and insists on contacting the MS company to verify your shop/$ earned and your "job separation." Believe me, I've gone round and round with them on this, and I read other threads about mystery shopping and unemploment benefits. I've had a different ruling every two weeks since April on this....but now they are holding up my unemployment pay until I can give them the names/contact info on every company I shopped with since April! Supposedly the person I am talking with is the "expert" on these things and says I am NOT self-employed because the companies tell me where to go and how to do my job by providing shop instructions. This is SOSOOO frustrating.

I have no access to a printer so I can't print out any IC contract to show them. To top it off, I cannot find anywhere a contact in the USA for TNS....and I won't get paid until I do! That's the last shop I completed. This bi-weekly hassle with the Unemployment Office is just driving me nuts.

I just hope the MS companies are familiar with this and know how to respond! TNS is the only one new to me, and I have only worked with well-respected companies (Trendsource, A Closer Look, Quest for Best, Reality Based Group, Research Service Group) that don't have payment issues or anything, so hopefully they will know how to respond. It's just this inability to locate a contact for TNS that's keeping me from getting paid! And my deadline to provide the info is Friday.....

Any ideas?



Edited to add: Thanks to Harvey on the TNS thread I have an address and phone number, and I actually talked to someone at TNS. Now to continue the battle with the unemployment office....
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Star Contributor

6557 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2012 :  12:37:11 PM  Visit PamInCa's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is exactly why having an EIN number that shows you are running your own business is important.

Author of: "The Essential Guide to Mystery Shopping"
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