Unemployment insurance is a program that provides workers who lost their jobs with a weekly income during times of unemployment. The program is run and funded by both state and federal taxes paid by employers.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Once a worker is no longer performing personal services for pay, and a "work separation" has taken place, the worker is free to file an initial claim for unemployment benefits. Workers need to meet certain requirements in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits.

What Happens after a Claim Has Been Filed?

Once a claim has been filed, the state’s labor agency determines if an employee is eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, a worker must: 

  • Have worked a certain number of weeks during the year
  • Have earned a certain amount of money in the past year
  • Be actively looking for work
  • Be unemployed through no fault of his own

Defending Against Unemployment Claims

An employer can try and stop a former employee from receiving unemployment insurance by showing that the employee should be disqualified from such eligibility.

The employer will most likely prevail if it can show at least one of the non-exhaustive following circumstances applies to the termination of employment: 

  • The employee voluntarily leaves employment without good cause
  • The employee was involved in a physical altercation
  • Violations of an employer’s drug free work place policy
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness
  • Intentional and material falsification of employee records

What Can I Do If I Am Found Ineligible for Unemployment Insurance?

In the event of an unfavorable decision, states allow the claimant or the employer the right to appeal the decision within a specified period of time.

Do I Need a Lawyer Specializing in Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment insurance laws are complicated and vary from state to state. An employment lawyer can help you determine what benefits you are entitled to. An employment attorney can also help you file an appeal if you are found ineligible for unemployment insurance.