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How Can I Get Unemployment When I Quit Due to Stress?

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The stringent qualifications for unemployment benefits require applicants to meet several conditions before the state approves payment. Most states will require applicants to demonstrate that they worked a specific amount of time, usually a minimum of four out of the previous five calendar quarters. And while the majority of states will only allow unemployment compensation for those who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own, some leeway is given for those who find themselves with no choice but to leave a job due to specific circumstances.

Read up on your state’s unemployment program before quitting your job. Identify the reasons that may allow you to claim unemployment after you quit a job because of stress. Stress related to serious offenses, such as harassment, discrimination and hazardous working conditions may allow you to collect unemployment compensation, however you must typically demonstrate that the employer took no action, or not enough action, to correct or address the offense. Understand that common job-related stress, such as difficulty with co-workers or general job dissatisfaction, is not a sufficient reason to quit and the state will not allow this type of claim for unemployment benefits.

Document all of the workplace incidents or procedures that contribute to your stress on the job. Report all incidents to your supervisor and human resources as soon as they occur. Make notes concerning any action, or lack thereof, taken by the employer to address the problem. Understand that the burden of proof falls on you, the employee, and that an employer will likely challenge any request for unemployment benefits made by a person who voluntarily left her job.

File an unemployment claim with your local unemployment office. Explain the circumstances, and be honest about your reasons for quitting your job. Visit or call the unemployment office instead of opting to file your claim online to ensure the reason for the claim gets recorded accurately.

Respond to any additional requests from your state unemployment office. Take advantage of the appeal opportunities available under the unemployment insurance program should your initial claim get denied or your former employer choose to fight the claim. Hire an attorney to fight for you and help you navigate the unemployment law in your state, if necessary.


Nicole Long is a freelance writer based in Cincinnati, Ohio. With experience in management and customer service, business is a primary focus of her writing. Long also has education and experience in the fields of sports medicine, first aid and coaching. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Cincinnati.

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