Basic Guidelines for Unemployment Benefit Eligibility

Basic Guidelines for Unemployment Benefit Eligibility

Unemployment benefits, also called unemployment insurance, unemployment payment or unemployment compensation, are payments made by authorized bodies to unemployed people.

In the United States, benefits are funded by a compulsory governmental insurance system, not taxes on individual citizens. Depending on the jurisdiction and the status of the person, those sums may be small, covering only basic needs, or may compensate the lost time proportionally to the previous earned salary.

Unemployment benefits are available to qualified former workers as they search for new employment opportunities. The assistance package is designed to help an unemployed worker to bridge that gap between jobs while meeting their financial needs. The system is available to eligible residents of each state where the program operates.

Compensation for eligible, unemployed workers is through the Federal Unemployment Tax Act along with state employment agencies.

Each state has an unemployment insurance program, but all states must follow specific guidelines provided by federal law. Federal law makes unemployment benefits relatively ubiquitous across state lines. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the program and ensures compliance within each state.

To qualify for unemployment benefits, they must meet the general federal standards as set by the DOL. However, depending on where they lives, their state agency might have additional requirements that they must meet in order to qualify for assistance.

Evaluation is needed to for the details of their state agency’s requirements to ensure if they qualify before they apply. There also might be contrasting requirements for :

  • How to submit the application.
  • How to maintain your benefits, based on the state where you reside.

Qualifying Criteria For Unemployment Benefits in the U.S.

Federal and State Government, both demands different eligibility standards to get benefits in U.S. Knowing who can qualify for unemployment benefits first, means:

Understanding the basic Qualifications as required by the Federal Government.

Knowing the general requirements for unemployment benefits is the first step you must take before you will be able to access this assistance. These standards are designed to assist those workers who have already paid into the national system themselves, enabling a level of financial protection if or when they need it.

Understanding the requirements of State Government.

Your state unemployment office might have specific requirements you must meet that go beyond the requirements of the DOL, so be sure to confirm those before you submit your application. Those could include stricter standards or even variations on the national requirements that differ from the federal government’s rules, so it is important for you to review these. This is incredibly important, so be sure to evaluate home state requirements carefully.

Companies will pay into these national coffers to protect the workforce at large, helping to maintain a more balanced economy overall. Therefore, the unemployment benefits system is available only to those who qualify for assistance based on previous contributions and current needs.

Basic Qualifications for Unemployment Insurance

Not every person who is out of work is eligible for unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are intended as a temporary wage replacement for those who are out of work, through no fault of their own, until they find a new job.

As Unemployment insurance is a joint program of the federal and state governments. State law determines who is eligible for benefits, how much they will receive, and for how long. Generally speaking, applicants must meet these three requirements to qualify for benefits:

  • They must be out of work through no fault of their own.
  • They must meet minimum earnings or job tenure requirements.
  • They must be able, available, and actively seeking work.

Generally, the federal government outlines who may qualify for unemployment assistance according to several major factors. These include all of the following standards, but you should also review the standards set by your state of residence as well.

The Background of Unemployment

Unemployment benefits are available only to applicants who are out of work through no fault of their own. If someone laid off or lose job for economic reasons (cost cutting or plant closure, for example), He/she will meet this requirement. But if the applicant is fired or quit, however, it might be tougher to qualify.

If They Are Fired

Qualifying the eligibility for unemployment benefits if they are fired depends on the reasons for  termination. Although states define the term differently, most states don’t pay benefits to employees who were fired for serious misconduct. If, they were fired for stealing from the company, committing a crime, or willfully breaking a serious safety rule, they most likely won’t be eligible for benefits. However, if they were fired for failing to meet expectations or substandard performance, they probably will be eligible for benefits. In many states, an employee who fails or refuses to take a drug test is not eligible for unemployment.

Even if they are not eligible for unemployment because they were fired for misconduct, this might be only a temporary disqualification. Some states consider an employee who was fired for serious misconduct to be ineligible for benefits, period. In other states, however, the employee becomes eligible after a set period of time. These states impose a penalty on fired employees, but don’t render them completely ineligible for benefits.

If They Quit:

If the applicant voluntarily quit his job without good cause, he will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. If he had good cause to quit, as defined by his state’s law, he will be eligible. State definitions of “good cause” vary significantly.

For instance, an employee who quits work to care for a seriously ill family member will be eligible for benefits in some states but not in others. Most states allow employees to collect benefits if their work situation was so difficult that they had no choice but to quit. (This is called a “constructive discharge.”) For example, an employee who quits to escape unsafe working conditions or egregious sexual harassment will likely still be eligible for benefits.

The cause of unemployment can determines eligibility for unemployment benefits. If someone lost his job through no fault of his own, meaning that he was laid off or his working hours were reduced, then he might qualify.

1. Earnings and Base Wage Requirements:

The specific amount earned at the previous job under a considerable period of time defines the chance to avail assistance. That time period is called the base period.

The amount of benefits, the applicant might be eligible to receive will be based on the amount he earned during that base period.

These levels will be determined by state agency, so one need to be sure to examine them and how they might apply to them.

2. Residential State:

It is important to be the part of the State where someone applied for assistance, as if the person is working in an other state but applying for assistance in his residential State, he may not qualify for unemployment benefits there.

Someone might also be considered as a non-resident in a state, if he is living temporarily there, He can not be consider a resident. Yet there is the way to transfer his benefits from his workplace state to his residential state.

So, when he/she files for unemployment benefits, he/she should do it with the labor office of the state where he currently live in, whether it is where he/she worked for the previous two years or not. In most cases, he/she’ll just file an interstate unemployment claim and the state he is in will request unemployment funds from the state he worked in.

However, there might be an exception granted for members of the military or for federal government employees.

3. U.S. Resident Regulations:

Unemployment benefits are for displaced workers. Although the majority of the workers who collect unemployment benefits are U.S. citizens, non-citizens can also have the right to work in the United States under certain circumstances.

For example, a Canadian engineer may be in the United States working on a temporary visa and lose his job. He is not a permanent resident of the United States, but since he is eligible to work here he can collect unemployment benefits.

Non-Resident Complications

Social security numbers are required to file unemployment claims. The only exceptions are non-residents because social security numbers are only for U.S. citizens.

Instead, they must have their alien resident number, their visa and passport information when they file for unemployment benefits.

It is important to remember that if someone’s immigration status in the United States is dependent on their work status, collecting unemployment has nothing to do with that. They still must fulfill their immigration requirements through Citizenship or Immigration Status.

Standards To Maintain For Unemployment Benefits

In addition to the basic qualifications for being allowed to file an unemployment claim, there are certain standards that are of great importance and must need to maintain in order to continue receiving assistance. It is better to be aware of the information about state agency policies as, the state agency might have additional requirements one have to meet, So, it is for most important to evaluate them clearly:

General standards to maintaining eligibility for unemployment are:

  • You must be actively seeking new employment
  • You must not turn down work that is offered at a fair level for your qualifications
  • You must be immediately available for work
  • You must not be convicted of any crime or incarcerated
  • You must meet other regular requirements, which could include staying mentally and physically capable of doing work during the period of time when you receive unemployment benefits

So, if the applicant begin collecting unemployment, it is important and often required to file weekly or monthly claims describing his job search. Any job offers, part-time earnings, contract work, or turned down opportunities must be reported. Sometimes, there are in-person check-ins with the state or unemployment agency to discuss the status of the applicant’s job search.

Legal Use Of Unemployment Benefits:

It must be very clear after being collecting the benefits that the person cannot use unemployment benefits for travel unless the trip was necessary for a potential job.

Likewise, if it is discovered that he is using his benefits for any illegal purposes or for otherwise banned activity, then he could immediately and irrevocably lose his benefits.

Always be sure to review the rules and regulations for your assistance so you do not lose the financial assistance you need while you search for new employment.

Unemployment benefits are designed to offer the financial assistance to an unemployed worker while searching for new employment. This is not designed for long-term use and cannot replace a job with all of its other benefits. However, this type of assistance can be vital for any worker finding him or herself suddenly and unexpectedly unemployed.