Unemployment insurance works like other forms of insurance – except that the employer normally pays the insurance premiums to the state agency that ends up making the payments to the employee when he or she loses a job. The state however must be in compliance with current federal guidelines and directives concerning how the unemployment program is administered.
Under the federal guidelines and directives, each state must determine how it will administer their respective unemployment insurance programs. This is one reason why the eligibility requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to another.
Employed workers who lose their job through no fault of their own, may be eligible to receive money through the governments unemployment insurance program. The actual amount the employee will receive depends on, among other things, the employee’s past earnings.
While benefits will vary from one jurisdiction to another, the duration of benefits usually range from 12 to 30 weeks, and may cover up to 50% of the persons previous wages up to a limit of about $500 per week.
The first priority must be to determine if you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits at all. This can turn on a number of different factors. You may not have worked enough hours in your previous job to qualify for benefits, you may have been working as an independent contractor or you may not have been employed for the requisite length of time to qualify for unemployment benefits. Still worse, you may have been working under the table when you were laid off and now you cannot qualify for unemployment benefits because you did not pay your taxes.
In order to qualify for unemployment your termination must not have been for cause. For example, it would not be the employee’s fault (therefore no cause) if the employee lost the job because of the economic slowdown. It might not even be considered the employee’s fault, even if the employee decided to quit the job – so long as there was a compelling reason for quitting. But if an employee quits without a good reason or was fired for misconduct, the employee probably won’t be entitled to receive unemployment benefits of any kind.
Collecting Unemployment – Extended Benefits
While unemployment benefits was again extended in 2012 not everyone who was qualified to receive regular unemployment benefits also qualifies to receive extended benefits. Once the initial benefits period is exhausted, if you are still unemployed, you will need to apply for extended benefits.
Given the continuous rise in unemployment claims, negative housing starts, and the overall decline of the real estate and credit markets, there is a much better chance of qualifying for extended benefits now then in any time in recent history.
Finally, those who are now receiving state unemployment benefits have until December 31, 2009 to file for their federal emergency benefits. This also applies to workers who are in the first tier of receiving federal emergency benefits.
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