Many governments around the world offer public unemployment insurance benefits for those who are out of work. Qualification requirements and benefits vary greatly from area to area. The most common types of unemployment insurance benefits include monetary compensation, health care assistance, training benefits and job search assistance. Private benefits are also available, though they may be called by a different name.
Probably the most widely known public benefit is monetary compensation during the period of unemployment. This payment amount varies from country to country and, sometimes, between areas within a county. In most locations, the amount received is based on the recipient's at-work salary and generally represents a set percentage of those wages, up to a determined cap amount. These funds may or may not be subject to income tax withholding, either at the time of receipt or at annual filing.
Public programs often include training opportunities as part of their unemployment insurance benefits. This might include extended availability of compensation while in an approved program. It might also include free or discounted seminars, continuing education courses and formal academic or technical education classes.
In countries where public heath care is not provided, the majority of people access healthcare insurance through their employers. Some unemployment insurance benefits packages include access to discount rates or short-term emergency policies. Others provide free or deeply discounted health insurance for dependent children of unemployed individuals. In other areas, healthcare laws or ordinances provide for continuation of insurance coverage after employment termination.
Most public programs place a time limit on receipt of monetary, health insurance and training unemployment insurance benefits. This too can vary widely. In some locations, a few weeks is the standard period while, in others, an individual can receive benefits for over a year. In times of economic stress and high unemployment, some governments have enacted extensions that allow benefits to be provided for longer periods of time.
One of the most commonly overlooked unemployment insurance benefits is job placement assistance. This encompasses a range of services, including early access to job listings, resume writing assistance and workshops on interview techniques. Some assistance programs will even connect the unemployed person with services that provide discounted interview-appropriate clothing.
Private unemployment insurance benefits are policy based, meaning that the insured elects the type and amount of benefits when choosing the policy. These policies are often meant to augment public insurance. They may also pay if an individual fails to qualify for public benefits.