Receiving Unemployment: Do You Qualify?

If you have been laid off or fired from your job, you may be wondering about receiving unemployment and asking the question, "do you qualify?" Although unemployment benefits vary from state to state, so you need to check with your state's unemployment office to see if you qualify. To do so, you can go online to servicelocator.org and click on your state on the map. In general, people who qualify for unemployment have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and there are some other guidelines that can help you decide whether you should file.

Disqualifications

First and foremost, you need to be clear on the reason you are no longer employed, since this is often the determining factor as to whether you will receive unemployment. You can be disqualified if you quit without a good reason, resigned because of an extended illness, left to get married or attend school, are currently involved in a labor dispute, or have been fired for misconduct.

Qualifying

Usually you will qualify for unemployment if you have been fired without just cause or if you have given notice but your employer doesn't accept it and terminates you on the spot.  In order to be eligible for benefits, your former job must have been one in which your employer withheld unemployment benefits for you.

You also need to have been working a certain number of hours per week on your former job. However, even if you only worked part time because that was the maximum number of hours your employer could give you, there is the chance you could qualify for unemployment. The amount of money you receive while on unemployment is usually based on a percentage (between 50 and 70%) of what you earned while on your previous job, with many states having caps or limits on the maximum amount any individual can receive.

More Information

In general, somewhere between one third and one half of people without jobs receive unemployment benefits. One of the reasons more jobless folks don't apply is because they think the process will be a long, tedious one with lots of paperwork (even though many states allow candidates to apply online or via telephone). Also, many people wrongly assume that they aren't eligible.Even if you think your layoff is only temporary, you should still file for unemployment just in case your situation becomes permanent, especially since most states only allow a certain amount of time for you to file from the time you become unemployed. You should also be aware that if you file directly with the state, you won't be charged any money, and you will usually receive a response to your application within three weeks. And if you are fortunate enough to receive benefits, you can expect to get them for approximately 26 weeks as long as you are following the guidelines set forth by the state.

Process

In order to apply for benefits, you will have to provide certain personal information like your address, phone number, social security number, employment contact information for the previous two years, and any applicable military service information. You may also have to provide pay stubs in order to prove your income.

After you have requested your benefits, your information will be sent to your former employer who can then contest the reason you lost your job. Once the state has all the information from you and your employer, it will then rule on whether you qualify for benefits. If you are denied, you should be able to have an appeals hearing to plead your case. Just make sure you follow all the appropriate filing instructions and attend all the meetings and court hearings so that you have the best chance of winning your appeal.