Nine things that can keep you from getting benefits
Next to a recent post about whether it is better to resign or be fired, readers have asked if quitting smoking would disqualify you from unemployment benefits. I asked Donna Ballman, Florida employment lawyer and author of the book, Defend yourself without getting fired: Solve workplace crises before you quit, get cheated, or sue bastards, to answer this question and describe the different scenarios that could make you ineligible for unemployment benefits. Ballman writes the blog, “Come on guys, I’m coming home “ and tweets like @EmployeeAtty. His last article for FORBES has been, “Ten things your boss doesn’t want you to know.” Here she explains everything you need to know about unemployment insurance.
By Donna Ballman
can make you ineligible for benefits. In today’s uncertain work environment, it’s important to know the ins and outs before
you quit or
to be fired.
As a backdrop, Unemployment benefits is a program administered by your state that replaces part of your salary when you lose your job. Each state’s program is different. Maximum weekly benefits range from a low of about $ 200 in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Arizona to a high of about $ 600 in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and the state. from Washington. In most states, you can get up to 26 weeks of benefits. Some states offer less; Georgia is the lowest at 18 weeks. Extended benefits from the federal government may also be available after you have exhausted your state’s benefits.
When can You quit and still get unemployment
Whether you can quit smoking while still qualifying for unemployment benefits also varies from state to state. So before stopping, check the laws of your state.
If you resign because your employer leaves you with no other option, you may still be able to receive unemployment benefits. Here are some reasons to quit that may fall into this category.
Lack of work. If your employer stops giving you work or drastically reduces your hours, you will probably still be entitled to unemployment benefits. Some employers try this as a trick to avoid paying higher premiums. Apply anyway.
Constructive discharge. If the working conditions are so intolerable that no reasonable person would stay, you may have been implicitly fired, which means unemployment will treat leaving the same as if you were fired without cause. Constructive discharge is really hard to prove, so make sure your situation is serious before you quit. Sexual harassment, unsafe working conditions that the company will not resolve, or requiring you to participate in illegal activities may justify your resignation while also qualifying you for unemployment. Demotion, job changes and pay cuts can also constitute constructive dismissal.
Medical reasons. In some states, having a health condition that prevents you from working will not disqualify you. In others, it will, or you may not qualify unless the work caused or worsened the condition.
Domestic violence. Some states allow employees who must quit because of domestic violence to claim unemployment benefits.
Caring for a sick family member. Some states allow employees who must resign to care for a critically ill family member to qualify.
When will you be disqualified
The rules for eligibility for unemployment benefit vary from state to state. What disqualifies you in one state cannot disqualify you in another. Here are the top nine things that will disqualify you from unemployment in most states.
1. Professional misconduct. What constitutes professional misconduct on the job can vary from state to state, as can the effect on your benefits (whether it will disqualify you permanently or only for a limited period of time). Theft, embezzlement, violence and other criminal behavior will certainly disqualify you. Depending on the circumstances, insubordination, chronic absenteeism, neglect and rule violations can also constitute misconduct. In some states, the misconduct must be serious; in others, a minor foul will disqualify you.
2. Misconduct outside of work. While some states have laws prohibiting dismissal for legal conduct outside of work, others (like my home state Florida) not only allow employers to fire for outside driving, but also exclude you from unemployment benefits due to misconduct outside the workplace. Misconduct outside of work that disqualifies you could be a criminal violation, a violation of company standards of behavior, or something that is considered to be against the interests of the employer.
3. Refuse suitable employment. If you refuse a job equivalent to the one you lost, you will probably be excluded from the right to other benefits. If you were a CEO and you were offered a janitor job, you can certainly turn it down. In closer situations, you run the risk of losing your benefits if you turn down a job that your National Unemployment Office deems appropriate. In deciding what is appropriate, government officials may consider a variety of factors, including: salary; your education and background; and security.
4. Failed drug test. In most states, failing a drug test will be considered disqualification. If you are on unemployment benefit and lose a new job because you fail a drug test, you may be disqualified, as if you had refused a suitable job.
5. Not looking for work. Your state will require you to declare that you have applied for a certain number of positions per week. If you do not report this information in a timely manner, or if you stop actively looking for work, you risk losing your benefits.
6. Being unable to work. If you are temporarily disabled, on maternity leave, out of town for a family emergency, or unable to work temporarily or permanently, you risk losing your unemployment eligibility while you are unable to work. In some states, you may be eligible if you resign for medical reasons or to care for a family member who is ill.
7. Receive severance pay. In some states, severance pay will disqualify you for as long as you receive severance pay. For example, if you receive 12 weeks of severance pay, your unemployment eligibility may begin on the 13the week after losing your job. You may also be required to report the salary as salary. Make sure you understand how severance pay affects unemployment benefits in your state. (For more information on severance pay, see “How to get the best severance pay. “)
8. Obtain freelance assignments. In most states, if you work and earn income, even as a self-employed entrepreneur, you may be totally or partially excluded from unemployment benefits. (For the growing tendency of businesses to rely on freelancers, see “As job growth slows, companies are outsourcing work to freelancers through the cloud.”)
9. Commit fraud. Failure to report income or a new job will not only exclude you from benefits, but could also force you to repay your benefits or even go to jail. In the computer age, government investigators can easily verify this information, so don’t take the risk. If you get income or other employment, report it. (See as well, “How an online reputation can hurt your job search. “)
More and more, companies are looking for reasons to disqualify employees. Previously, unsatisfactory work did not disqualify you, but now some states disqualify employees for unsatisfactory work that goes against the best interests of the employer. And it could be just about anything.
If in doubt, apply for unemployment as soon as you lose your job. Your employer cannot deny you benefits and does not decide who is eligible. This decision is up to your state’s unemployment office. Your employer has contributed to unemployment on your behalf; these funds belong to you. If the state denies you benefits, you have the right to appeal and will have the opportunity to tell your side of the story.
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