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Do I Qualify for Unemployment?


An unemployed man looks over job listings on a board at a New York State Department of Labor Employment Services office March 3, 2011 in Brooklyn Borough of New York City.
Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Question: Do I Qualify for Unemployment?

Answer: Unemployment insurance benefits are available for workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. There are eligibility requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits including working a certain number of weeks for a certain number of hours each week.

Eligibility requirements to qualify for unemployment compensation vary from state to state.

The unemployment compensation you will receive depends on the amount you earned while working.

If you're not sure whether you're eligible, file a claim and the unemployment office will determine your eligibility for unemployment compensation.

When You Don't Qualify for Unemployment

The following circumstances may disqualify you from collecting unemployment benefits:

  • Fired for misconduct
  • Quit without good cause
  • Resigned because of illness (check on disability benefits)
  • Left to get married
  • Self-employed
  • Involved in a labor dispute
  • Attending school

When You Quit Your Job

Can you collect unemployment if you quit your job? It depends. In most cases, if you voluntarily left employment you are not eligible. However, if you left for "good cause" you may be able to collect.

"Good cause" is determined by the state unemployment office and you will be able to make a case for why you are eligible for benefits. Here's information on what may be considered good cause by an unemployment office.

In addition, if you give notice, but the employer doesn't accept the notice and terminates your employment immediately, it is typically considered an involuntary termination and you may qualify for benefits.

When You Are Told You Don't Qualify for Unemployment
If your claim is denied, you should be entitled to a hearing where you can plead your case. Here's how to file an unemployment appeal.

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