What Are the Different Types of Unemployment Qualifications?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2018
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In the U.S., the unemployment application process may vary by state, but there are four general conditions that are considered unemployment qualifications. The first condition is that the individual must be unemployed through no fault if his or her own, such as from a layoff or a business closing. In addition, the employer must have been paying into a specific fund for his or her full-time employees. In addition, the unemployed person must have been working for a minimum number of hours and a minimum amount of pay each week. A final, related, condition is that he or she must have worked for the same employer for a certain period.

When seeking benefits, the first of the unemployment qualifications a person must meet is that the individual must be without a job, having been let go due to a layoff, the end of temporary position, or other lack of work through no fault of the employee. He or she cannot have been fired by the employer for a "just cause," such as a violation of company policy or engaging in illegal activity. In most cases, the employee cannot have quit voluntarily, unless it was for a particular cause, such as sexual harassment.


Another unemployment qualification is that the worker must have been employed for a certain amount of time prior to his or her unemployment; this requirement normally varies by state. In addition, he or she must have earned a certain amount of pay during the period of employment, which ultimately determines how much unemployment payment the individual will receive. Furthermore, he or she must file by a certain date, usually during the first week after becoming unemployed.

After meeting the previously stated conditions, getting unemployment compensation usually requires some specific actions. To apply, the person must usually talk to his or her employer or to someone at the state employment agency. Another of the unemployment qualifications is that the applicant must be actively seeking employment. Moreover, he or she must be physically and mentally able to work; otherwise, he or she is not eligible for unemployment, but might qualify for certain disability programs instead.

Benefits can be paid either by state agencies or by the Federal Unemployment Trust Fund. While receiving benefits, the person should continue applying for work. After meeting all unemployment qualifications, the person receiving compensation must also be careful to avoid disqualification or termination of benefits. Typical obligations usually include attending assessment interviews, for instance, and accepting referrals to services or potential job openings. Some people also look into alternative sources of income if unemployment benefits are unavailable or insufficient.



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