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Reasons to Reopen an Unemployment Claim

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When you leave your job or are terminated, collecting unemployment may help you pay your bills. Each state sets its own eligibility requirements for unemployment and maintains its own procedure for opening a claim, although most states have similar guidelines. If your state keeps your claim open for a set period of time after you return to work, you can reopen the existing claim for benefits during this time period if you find yourself unemployed again. Otherwise, you'll have to start a new claim.

Laid Off

If you return to work but are furloughed or laid off again, you may be able to reopen an existing claim for unemployment benefits. You must contact your state's unemployment office to find out if you're eligible to have your claim reopened or whether you must file a new claim for benefits. If you worked during part of the week for which you try to claim unemployment benefits, you may be able to reopen your unemployment claim without a one-week waiting period. Some states do not offer this option and require you to wait until a full week without work before receiving benefits.

Reduced Hours

Working full-time normally means you cannot claim unemployment benefits. However, if you have your hours reduced, you may be able to reopen your existing unemployment claim. This circumstance usually means you can file only for partial payment of unemployment benefits. A one-week waiting period requirement depends on the state's guidelines for unemployment due to a reduction in hours.

Fired From Work

If you are fired, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits once again. You normally can reopen your unemployment claim as long as you were not fired for misconduct. When you're fired, you must contact your state's unemployment office and ask about whether you may reopen a previous claim. Reopening your claim will be based on the facts of your case. Just as with being laid off, you might not be able to get full benefits, or any benefits, for the week in which you are reopening your claim if you worked for part of that week.

Unsafe Working Conditions

You may not feel safe at work. If you voluntarily leave, your state may allow you to reopen an existing claim for unemployment benefits. You must be able to prove the unsafe working conditions before you can receive unemployment benefits once again, although you may reopen your claim as soon as you leave your job to get the process started. You may have to wait one week before receiving benefits.


I am a Registered Financial Consultant with 6 years experience in the financial services industry. I am trained in the financial planning process, with an emphasis in life insurance and annuity contracts. I have written for Demand Studios since 2009.

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