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What Does Re-qualifying Mean for Unemployment?

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When an individual loses his job, it can create a serious financial hardship if another job does not present itself rather quickly. Luckily, within the United States, an individual may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits that provide a weekly monetary payment until the individual locates employment. In some cases, a person may need to re-qualify for unemployment insurance benefits because he becomes ineligible to continue receiving the benefits after an original approval.

Qualifying for Benefits

Unemployment insurance is governed by the individual states, although all state laws must meet federal guidelines. As a result, the eligibility guidelines, benefit amounts and claim procedures may be slightly different in each state. As a general rule, in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, an applicant must have lost her job through no fault of her own, be willing and able to accept employment and have enough wages during the base period to qualify. The base period may vary, but it is often the best four of the last five quarters.

Reasons for Disqualification

An applicant who originally met the guidelines for qualification for unemployment insurance can subsequently become ineligible. Common reasons for an applicant to lose his qualified status include refusing an offer of employment, becoming unable to work or exceeding the number of weeks for which benefits are available. In some states, extended benefits are available beyond the traditional benefit period and the applicant is not required to re-qualify.


Once a previously qualified claimant has become disqualified, she must re-qualify. Re-qualification is not the same as appealing an initial determination that denied benefits to an applicant. An applicant who is initially denied benefits may appeal; however, re-qualification applies to claimants who were originally approved and subsequently became disqualified. Rules for re-qualification will vary, but generally, they require the applicant to earn additional wages before being re-qualified. This is particularly likely if the reason for the disqualification was refusal of an offer of employment.

Benefit Amount

The amount of a claimant's weekly benefit may not be the same on a re-qualification as it was on the original claim. Benefit amounts are determined by the individual states; however, the amount of earnings a claimant has during the base period will be the determining factor in most cases. All states have a maximum weekly benefit amount regardless of the wages earned by a claimant. Consult your local unemployment office for more detailed information.


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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