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If you have two jobs but lose one of them, you might not qualify for unemployment

Why some don't qualify for jobless benefits
Posted at 8:38 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 11:51:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Unemployment benefits are helping thousands of Utahns make ends meet right now, but not everyone who thinks they qualify, actually does.

"I think they need to take a second look at how all of their cases are handled," said Jose Rivera, a proud husband and father.

His wife stays home with two young children, and for the past two years, Rivera has worked two jobs.

One as a full time maintenance engineer at the University of Utah.

The other a part time job as a lead server at Wiseguys Comedy Club.

"Just to make ends meet," Rivera said.

Wiseguys closed weeks ago due to COVID-19, but the company paid into unemployment the whole time Rivera worked there.

"That Wiseguys job with tips and everything brought me in more money than my full time job does," he said. But the state says he does not qualify for unemployment.

We spoke with Kevin Burt, the Unemployment Insurance Division Director for the Department of Workforce Services, about what happens to people who have two jobs and lose one of them.

"It would depend. It would depend on the two jobs," Burt said. "If I had a full time job and I had a part time job, a supplemental job, and I just lost the supplemental job, it is very unlikely it would be eligible."

Burt was told Rivera's part time job paid more than his full time job.

"It's an interesting question but actually the answer is the same," Burt said. "If an individual is working full time, we would consider them fully employed."

"We're going paycheck to paycheck," Rivera said.

With no unemployment benefits, he is doing what he can to help himself.

"I took on Doordash," Rivera said. "I recently picked that up but I came across another issue -- I'm gonna move my camera a minute -- (adjusts camera to show sling). I was on a city bike downtown but someone was in my lane, I crashed and fractured my elbow so Doordash is now on hold as well."

The state says if Rivera had worked two part time jobs and lost one of them, he may have been eligible for unemployment.

"I'm just looking for a little bit of help," he said. "My thing is I feel like I'm getting punished cause I do everything I can for my family before, by busting my chops, and now when I'm in a time of need everybody's told 'go do this, do this to get help,' and I'm not allowed any of it.

It's a tough situation to be in, and certainly Rivera is not the only one.

We'll check in with Jose in the comings weeks to see how he and his family are getting along.