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Rules for Collecting Unemployment

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For many Americans, collecting unemployment benefits is necessary after losing a job. In order to qualify for unemployment, there are certain rules and requirements that need to be met. The rules are in place to prevent unnecessary collection of unemployment benefits. Although the rules may vary by state, there are guidelines that are similar.

Employment Requirements

In order to collect unemployment, a person must be completely unemployed or working less than full-time hours. If you worked part time, your unemployment benefits are based on your earnings for the week and how many days you work. Partial unemployment payments may extend the time you are eligible to receive benefits.

Job Separation

If you were terminated, you may not be eligible to receive unemployment if the termination was the result of misconduct on your behalf. Theft, felonious conduct and violating policies established by a company are considered reasonable grounds for termination. In these cases, you are not eligible for unemployment.

Resigning from a position does not necessarily disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits. If it is determined that you resigned due to a “good cause,” you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. A good cause can include being sexually harassed, a family emergency and relocation to another area due to a spouse's job. You can also resign from a position and receive unemployment if the position put your safety or health at risk.

Employees that are laid-off due to a lack of work may qualify for unemployment benefits. If you were a seasonal or temporary worker, you may also qualify for unemployment.

Ability to Work

Applicants who are mentally and physically able to work are required to actively search for work while receiving unemployment benefits. Applicants may be required to produce verifiable proof of a job search to continue to receive benefits. You may also be required to attend a job training program.

Weekly Claims

Unemployment claims must be filed by a certain day each week. If your claim is not filed by a certain day, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits for the week. Most states allow you to file online, by phone and at the nearest Department of Labor office for your state.


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