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Do You Report an Inheritance If You Are on Unemployment Benefits?

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Unemployment insurance benefits are provided by the states to eligible claimants who are not currently working. To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must meet basic eligibility requirements and must file a claim each week for benefits. When you file your weekly claim, you must report all income received for the week. An inheritance is not considered income for the purposes of unemployment insurance benefits.

General Eligibility

Although individual states administer their own unemployment insurance benefit programs, there are common requirements among the states for eligibility. You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. In addition, in order to qualify for benefits, you have to be able to work -- both physically and legally -- and be actively looking for employment. You must register for work in most states. Finally, you must have enough wages in yout base period to qualify for benefits.

Claiming Benefits

Once you have been found eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, you must file a weekly claim each week that you are unemployed, or in some states, underemployed. As part of the weekly claim process, you are required to confirm that you were able to work, looked for work and either earned no income or earned less than your unemployment benefit for the week. Making a false statement on a weekly claim can be considered unemployment fraud, which is a crime.

Reporting Earnings

You must report any wages or income for the week when you file your weekly claim for benefits. Income man include cash, tips, holiday or vacation pay or even noncash payments such as room and board. Income, however, does not include an inheritance received by you. Income is generally defined as money, or the equivalent, that is earned as a result of work or as the result of an investment.


Although an inheritance does not need to be reported on your weekly claim for unemployment insurance benefits, keep in mind that the other rules continue to apply with regard to eligibility. If you receive a generous inheritance, you must still continue to look for work if you file a claim for unemployment insurance benefits. If the inheritance is such that you no longer need income from work and therefore you stop looking for work, you cannot legally claim benefits.


Renee Booker has been writing professionally since 2009 and was a practicing attorney for almost 10 years. She has had work published on Gadling, AOL's travel site. Booker holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law.

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