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Banks Get Billions in Bailouts, but an Unemployed Blogger Loses Benefits Over AdSense Check

Google AdSense or unemployment benefits? It’s your choice, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too–even when that cake amounts to just $1.30 a day in AdSense earnings!

The New York State Department of Labor is investigating the eligibility of an unemployed attorney who was receiving $405 a week in unemployment benefits. That $405 has been stopped while the DoL decides if the earnings she receives from ads displayed on her new restaurant review site are either:

a) Income

b) Residual earnings

c) Self employed revenue

Surprisingly, there is no option “d”–is ~$40 a month in AdSense enough to live on?

Of course, most people would have just kept quiet about the check, but “Karin”–the semi-anonymous blogger who’s the focus of the Forbes piece–is studying for the bar. She likely knew she had a legal obligation to report her earnings:

According to state regulations, anyone receiving unemployment benefits who works one day and earns less than $405 will have his check for the week reduced by 25%. Someone who earns more than $405 in a single week becomes ineligible for any payments for that week.

While the DoL tries to find enough bureaucrats to change a light bulb figure this out, she’s left with no benefit check whatsoever. Perhaps the focus shouldn’t be on what constitutes income, but how anyone is expected to live off just $405 a month week. The government handout is appreciated, but for the love of pete, give the unemployed a chance to supplement that so they can do things, like eat food!

If we can hand billions of dollars in bailouts to banks and car manufacturers, can’t we give a blogger $400 a month week while they try to build up their blogging income?

  • Scott Orth

    Small correction – the benefit is $405 each week (not month); but your point still holds – how can anyone (especially in New York) live on $405/week – let alone the $40/month she makes on Adsense.

    This is one of those unfortunate situations that proves to people that NOT being upfront and honest just might save your livelihood.

    • Andy Beal

      Thanks for catching that Scott. I started out with the correct timeframe, then somehow got sidetracked. :-)

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  • Anonymous

    It’s funny that I came across this article as I too made a few hundred a month with Adsense and was recently denied NYS unemployment because of this as well There is something seriously wrong with this. I quickly regretted saying anything, but I am not the type of person to lie about it, so it was quite an uncomfortable and annoying situation.