How Do I Qualify For Unemployment Insurance Benefits?

To qualify monetarily for unemployment insurance, you must be paid sufficient wages in your base period. The base period is the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the effective (starting) date of your claim. To have sufficient wages, you must have earned 26 times your weekly benefit amount. (Your weekly benefit amount is 1/21 of your high quarter wages in your base period.) You must also have wages paid in at least 2 quarters of the base period.

In addition to having been paid sufficient wages to establish a valid claim, you must meet eligibility requirements before you can be paid unemployment insurance benefits. The main requirements are:

  1. You must be either totally unemployed, or working less than your normal hours and earning less than your weekly benefit amount.
  2. You must be registered for work with the State Employment Service, or if a member of a labor union with a hiring hall, in good standing and referable to work.
  3. You must be physically able to work and available for work without any major restrictions such as, but not limited to, no transportation, lack of childcare, attendance at school which affects your availability for work, or other personal circumstances.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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