5 Possible Reasons You Don’t Qualify for Unemployment Insurance

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5 Possible Reasons You Don’t Qualify for Unemployment Insurance

- Sep 16 , 2020

With each state being in charge of its unemployment insurance program, it can be difficult to understand the exact reasons why your coverage has been declined or terminated before its expiration date. But despite the state-to-state variance, there are a few reasons for disqualification that tend to exist, in some form, in all areas. If your situation matches any of the following scenarios, you may now know why your unemployment claim has ended or been rejected.

Your Earnings or Work History Didn’t Meet Requirements

Every state has a given minimum salary to meet for unemployment insurance eligibility. If your income over the evaluated period fell short of that limit, you don’t meet the requirement to receive unemployment benefits.

Other states may base their eligibility on the amount of time you worked over a certain time—for example, in Washington State, if you didn't work at least 680 hours during your "base year," you're not eligible for state unemployment insurance.

Other factors of your employment may come into play. The state may claim you don’t qualify if you were employed by a small farm or worked entirely on commission. Other conditions may apply; for clarification check with your state’s unemployment office.

You Quit Without Good Cause

Voluntarily resigning from your job for no good reason is typically a big reason states deny unemployment insurance eligibility. Generally, you can’t just quit your job because you found it boring, silently resented your co-workers, or don’t like the office decor, and expect to get approved for unemployment insurance. The expectation is that as long as you’re physically and mentally able to hold your job, you don’t up and leave through your own volition.

However, every state’s definition of “good cause” for leaving your job varies. If you suffered physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a co-worker, or if your workplace presented unduly unsafe working conditions you couldn’t escape, those may be justifiable conditions to voluntarily terminate your employment. Some states, but not all, also pay insurance to those who quit so they can care for extremely ill family members.

In almost all cases, you’ll need to offer verifiable proof about the work conditions forcing you to leave. As always, check with your state to determine their interpretation of valid reasons for quitting your job.

You Were Fired for Misconduct

If you were terminated for grave misconduct, intentional violation of company rules, or committing a criminal act, then there’s a pretty good chance you won’t qualify for your state’s unemployment insurance. In many areas, refusing to submit to a drug test almost makes you ineligible. Losing your job to layoffs or furloughs, or even because your work wasn’t always up to par, generally won’t disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits.

Like “good cause,” though, every state has different standards defining the kind of behavior that disqualifies you from unemployment. Some states also allow those dismissed for conduct reasons to collect unemployment after a certain amount of time and assessment of certain penalties.

You Stopped Looking for Work (or Turned Down a Job Offer)

In many states you must actively look for work during unemployment; you have to apply for a certain number of open jobs unemployment and provide proof of your applications. If you stop applying or fail to provide proof of your search, you’re disqualified from insurance. Furthermore, if you turn down a job offer for a position you're qualified for, and nothing hampers your ability to work, your insurance may be rescinded.

It should be noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are relaxing or suspending their job search requirement until enough businesses re-open or begin hiring again after the shutdown has ended.

You Don’t Meet Certain COVID-19 Work Stipulations

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, some states have made unemployment insurance easier to get for those let go or temporarily furloughed due to shutdowns. However, if you are currently out on sick or family leave, you most likely won't qualify for state unemployment. If you have the ability to telecommute but simply choose not to, your eligibility status may also be revoked. You may however qualify for benefits paid under the federal CARES act.