How Long Do I Have to Work to Get Unemployment?

You are typically ineligible for unemployment benefits if you lost your job due to an inability to work,unemployment-how-long scheduling conflicts/unavailability, or misconduct on the job. Furthermore, if you were removed from your job because you refused to engage in suitable work without a good cause, you are not eligible for unemployment.

Perhaps the most important cause for ineligibility you should know, and often the main reason for why the recently unemployed are not eligible for benefits, is if you voluntarily quit your job without due cause.

Therefore, if you are recently unemployed and did not voluntarily quit without good cause, did not get fired for misconduct, did not get fired for being unavailable, did not get fired for having an inability to work, did not get fired for refusing to work without good cause, and are not self-employed, then you may be eligible for unemployment benefits!

This can be the most confusing part: have I worked long enough to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits?

This varies by state.

Earnings: Eligibility for receiving unemployment benefits is based on earned wages over a 12-month period, also known as the base period.  The amount of required earnings and/or time worked varies by state.  Most states require earnings in at least two quarters of the base period.    A few states will provide benefits with just one quarter of earnings in the base period.

Claim Award and Weekly Benefit Amount:  The total claim award and weekly benefit amount (WBA) also varies by state and can be as high as 60% of a worker’s average weekly wage earned during the 12-month base period, up to the maximum weekly benefit amount determined by that state.  In some states, the maximum weekly benefit amount increases each year.

Number of Weeks Paid:  Maximum number of weeks for which benefits are paid can be anywhere between 12 and 30 weeks.  Most states pay a maximum of 26 weeks’ benefits.  MA pays up to 30 weeks.  Some southern states have drastically cut the maximum number of weeks to as few as 12 weeks’ benefits.

Base Periods:  In calculating the benefit, the majority of states use the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding the quarter when an unemployment claim is filed, otherwise known as the standard base period (SBP).   In addition, depending on circumstances, many states use an alternate  base period (ABP) which will include twelve-months earnings to the date of the most recently completed quarter.  A few states will use a second alternate base period, which includes earnings to date of discharge and the three quarters preceding that.

As a rule, the state will use the first base period which will qualify you – not the most advantageous base period.  However, one or two states, upon written request, will allow you to request use of the more advantageous base period without actually withdrawing the claim and refiling.

Withdrawal of Application:  In addition, many states will allow withdrawal of a claim application if it appears by waiting to file in a different quarter a more advantageous base period would provide a better benefit.  This withdrawal right is conditioned upon:

  • the withdrawal request being made within 30 days of being notified of the benefit amount, and
  • claimant must not have claimed and/or received any benefit under that claim prior to requesting the withdrawal.

Select below for State Specific Requirements:

Detailed Explanation of Unemployment Eligibility

While the amount of time you spent employed is important, that amount of time is entirely dependent upon the amount of wages you may have earned during that time. Therefore, the question is not only about how long you have to work to be eligible to receive unemployment, but it is also about how much you have to of earn during that time to qualify for unemployment….

Did I work long enough and earn enough wages during that time to qualify for unemployment insurance in my state?

The overarching important detail in determining your eligibility is answering the question of whether you actually were employed or not…Ultimately meaning, are the services that you performed for another individual, presumably your employer, covered under unemployment insurance? To answer this, four questions need to be taken into consideration.

-Did you perform services for an employer?

-Were these services performed within an employee-employer relationship? (i.e. not just a friend helping another friend out)

-Did you perform these services while employed?

-Were you compensated for these services with wages?

If you answered yes to all four questions, then the time you spent working is covered under unemployment insurance, granted that your employer qualifies as such under state and federal laws. If you did not answer yes to all questions, you likely do not qualify for benefits.

An employer or employing unit is covered under unemployment insurance if it paid at least $1,500 in wages during any calendar quarter in the current or previous calendar year. Further, an employer/employing unit is also covered under unemployment insurance if it paid wages to at least one employee and employed said worker at least one day per week during the 20 weeks of the current or previous calendar year. Please note that only approximately half of states use this definition in determining eligibility based on employer qualifications (also, this is typically not applicable to agricultural or domestic labors). States that use other definitions will be discussed in state-specific articles. These states include: AK, DC, MA, MT, NM, PA, UT, WY, AR, HI, MI, NV, NY, PR, VI, CA, MD, MN, NJ, OR, RI, and WA.

Oddly enough, if you are a railroad worker, you are not eligible for state/federal unemployment insurance. There is a separate program run by the Railroad Retirement Board under a Federal program.

While the federal government has provided various laws and regulations to enforce certain guidelines on unemployment benefits, the specific requirements for eligibility and for the amount of coverage over a set time period you may receive is determined by your state. This creates a somewhat confusing atmosphere for the recently unemployed, who are likely already distraught.

For the most part, eligibility for receiving unemployment benefits are based on earned wages during time spent working over a 12-month period. The entitlement formula (how they determine the amount of coverage to award you per week) varies by state, and most states require a substantial work history. Unemployment benefits in some states will cover up to 50% a worker’s wages that were earned during the 12-month period.. Depending on the state, there are also minimal levels of earnings required over the 12-month period in order to be eligible for receiving unemployment benefits.

While unemployment benefits may cover up to 50% of your earned wages, most states also have established a cap on how much you can receive. Meaning, if 50% of your wages is an amount over the maximum benefits, then you will not receive 50%. You can only receive up to your state’s maximum amount, if you earned enough to do so. To give you an idea of the a possible amount you could receive: the average weekly benefit in January of 2008 was $304.

The 12-month period of work history used to determine eligibility is referred to as the base period. The amount of wages earned or the amount of hours worked is used in determining how much compensation a worker may be entitled to.

The majority of states use the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding the filing of an unemployment claim as the base period. This can create a potential dilemma for some workers, as a gap of up to five months long between the date of filing a claim for unemployment and the end of the base period may be present. Because of this, there are some workers that are deemed to be ineligible for unemployment compensation, even if they have a strong work history. There are some states that have expanded their parameters for the base period, making the potential for ineligibility due to the aforementioned 5-month gap minimal.

For those without much experience with financial quarters or how the year is split up into quarters, here is a bit of information you may find useful:

There are four quarters within a complete calendar year. Three months are grouped together in order to form a single quarter.

Q1 is January, February, and March.

Q2 is April, May and June.

Q3 is July, August, and September.

Q4 is October, November, and December.

Worker2 filed an unemployment claim on October 17th of 2012. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. Because worker2 filed just as the 4th quarter began in October, she will not be able to include the third and fourth quarters of the 2012 calendar. This is because the fourth quarter has not been completed. Further, the third quarter is not included because only the first four of the last five quarters are used. That makes the third quarter the fifth and final one.

The quarters that Worker2 may use are as follows:

Q2 of 2012

Q1 of 2012

Q4 of 2011

Q3 of 2011

It is also important to understand the differences between the typical base period, Alternate Base Periods (ABP) and Extended Base Periods (EBP). Some states use ABP and EBP as a way to compensate for the limitations of the regular base period. (SOME states – not all)

Alternate Base Periods acknowledge the 5-month gap that may present itself within the regular base period, which only takes into account the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters. For those who do not qualify under the base period (because of too few wages earned or not enough time spent employed), the ABP will take into account any wages earned within the 4 four completed calendar quarters (instead of the first 4). This allows the most recent work history a worker may have to be included when determining eligibility and compensation. Extended Base Periods allow workers who have not earned any wages within the current base period to use past wages earned, granted they meet certain conditions. Namely, if a worker is injured or becomes ill while employed and has received workers’ compensation (WC) benefits (temporary disability payments and/or compensation for permanent injury), then the worker may use earned wages from before the injury/illness occurred in order to qualify for unemployment benefits.

All states require a minimum amount of wages earned or a minimum amount of time worked within a time-period (or both minimums may be required).

There are also state specific formulas used in determining these minimum amounts for employment or earned wages (or both). As with the type of base period a worker can qualify for depending on his/her state, the minimum amounts for eligibility also differ between states.

There are four ways your basic eligibility for unemployment may be determined (depending on your state): the Multiple of High-Quarter Wages (HQW)method, the Multiple of Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) method, the Flat Qualifying Amount (FQA) method, and a general method for  minimum requirements of time spent employed and wages earned during that time. States determine which method to utilize in examining a worker’s eligibility for unemployment.

HQW requires workers to have earned a minimum dollar amount in the quarter which the worker had the highest earnings of his/her base period. For regular base period eligibility this method takes into consideration the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. The quarter out of those four with the highest earned wages is used to determine whether or not you met the minimum dollar amount required to be eligible. Furthermore, the worker must also earn a minimum total amount for the base period in order to qualify. This base period minimum total amount needed is typically a multiple of the amount earned in the quarter with the highest wages. The multiple is usually 1.5.

For Example:

Worker A has filed for unemployment in a state that uses the HQW model

His earnings can be found in the table below

Quarter One Quarter Two Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 5
earned $1,000 earned $600 earned $400 earned $0 Not used in regular base period

The HQW method requires a minimum dollar amount for the highest quarter wages in a base period. This minimum amount varies depending on the state. In this example, we do not know the minimum highest quarter wages that need to be earned, so we cannot conclude eligibility for the first part of the HQW requirements.

For the second part of the requirement, a multiple of the HQW must reach the minimum amount earned within the entire base period.

The highest quarter wage occurred during quarter one ($1,000) for Worker A in this example.

The HQW of $1,000 is then multiplied by 1.5 (usually).

$1,000 x 1.5 = $1,500

According to the second requirement, this worker would need to earn at least $1,500 total within his respective base period in order to qualify for unemployment.

Even though this worker did not earn any wages in the 4th quarter, he still earned a total of $2,000 within the entire base period. Because $2,000 exceeds his minimum required amount of $1,500, this worker would be eligible for unemployment (based on the second requirement). This only stands if the worker’s HQW met the minimum amount as well.

The WBA method’s first step in determining a worker’s eligibility is the state computing a worker’s weekly benefit amount (WBA). In order to qualify for unemployment, the worker must have earned a multiple of (usually 40) the determined WBA within an entire base period. Further, many states that utilize this method require workers to have earned wages/worked during at least two quarters of their respective base periods.

For Example:

WorkerJohnny has filed a claim for unemployment in a state that uses the WBA model for determining eligibility.

His state determines that he will receive a weekly benefit amount of $50.

His (regular) base period earnings can be found below.

Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Quarter 5
$2,000 $1,500 $0 $0 Not used in regular base period

Immediately, we can see that WorkerJohnny meets the minimum required number of quarters spent working, which is 2. WorkerJohnny earned wages during the first and second quarters.

WorkerJohnny earned $3,500 for the entire base period.
The minimum amount WorkerJohnny has to earn to be eligible to receive unemployment is:

WBA x 40 (usually)
$50 x 40 = $2,000

Worker Johnny earned $3,500, which is greater than the minimum $2,000 required.

Because Johnny earned more than the minimum amount required and worked at least two quarters of the base period, he is eligible to receive unemployment according to the WBA method.

States that use the Flat Qualifying Amount (FQA) model for determining eligibility for unemployment require a minimum dollar amount to have been earned during the base period. The HQW and WBA models of some states have this method within them. Each requires a minimum amount of earnings to have been made during the base period.

Finally, some states use the amount of time a worker was employed with earned wages during the base period as a criteria for receiving unemployment. Workers must have worked for a minimum amount of time and at a certain wage in order to qualify through this method.


  • Carlos


    I work in California. I have been at my current employer for a little over 5 months. I have been under a “probation” term since I started and the term is set to end on 9/20. I work a dual sales (office) assistant/salesperson role but am primarily asked to work the sales assistant role, leaving very little time and support to perform the salesperson role. I am still expected to create new accounts and revenue though I have not really been given enough training or support and am pretty much alone to fend for myself as a salesperson. My Boss has informed me that unless I get a new account by 9/15 (less than 2 weeks from now and before my “probation” period ends), she will not keep me after 9/15. Prior to this job I was with my previous employer for 4 1/2 years, it was a retail sales job in which I performed beyond expectations. I am on salary and net about $1250/2 weeks. Will I qualify for unemployment and if so when can I apply?

    • You qualify and you apply immediately when terminated. Employer will cite poor performance/failure to meet sales quotas. This is not disqualifying unless employer can prove you intentionally did not meet its goals. You may be initially denied and need to appeal to get benefits as initial interviewers cannot properly examine the he said/she said aspect of poor performance – although sales quota is so subjective the interviewer may approve. Absolutely appeal, if denied. You will win at appeal.

      • Carlos


        I have an update to my question. So I am for sure being dismissed tomorrow 9/15. However I have been given a few forms to fill out and one of them is a form for ADP titled “Employee Resignation” in which I fill in my name and date as well as sign it and it states that “I have decided to resign from my employment effective 9/15.” It also says “i have tendered my resignation because of (blank) and have signed this form voluntarily”. My gut feeling is I shouldn’t sign this but a bit worried they will keep my pay tomorrow if I don’t sign it. Will it affect my unemployment benefits if this is signed?

  • Victor Maldonado

    My private owned retail foot wear store is closing. I’m in nyc, am I entitled unemployment or like a severance pay also I only have been working about 14 hours a week so don’t know what to do next or if it’s even worth it also I have another part time job and would like to know if it will effect how much I can receive

    • There is no law requiring employer pay severance. You are entitled to unemployment. That said, unfortunately, in NY if you even work an hour a day you lose 25% of your weekly benefit. NY calculates partial benefit by days (or part of a day) worked, not earnings. Therefore, if you work a few hours a day two days at week at your other job, you lose 50% of your benefit. If you work a few hours a day three days at week at your other job, you lose 75% of your benefit. If you work a few hours a day four days a week, you lose 100% of your benefit.

      You should probably apply anyway. You might pick up at least something depending on how many days you are working at the remaining job.

  • Rick

    What’s my total earnings I must reach for max unemployment in Oregon for 2018?

    • 2018 figure is unknown. For 2017 filings, that number is $47,200. Based on increase from 2016 ($43,920), probably about $51,000. Keep in mind, base period if you file in Jan. 2018 will be earnings between 10/1/2016-9/30/2017.

  • Chris Fox

    I am 51 years old and live in Delaware. I recently took a job in NJ was let go after working 3.5 months making salary of 6ok the company has told me they will not block my unemployment as they didn’t have a concrete answer as to why I was let go . Prior to this I worked in DE for 14 years making on average 60 to 65K. How much will my weekly benefits be as there is a huge difference between NJ and DE weekly amount?

    • Yes, there is a huge difference between Delaware (max $330/wk) and NJ (max $673/wk).

      Apply in NJ – ask for a combined wage claim with the Delaware earnings. You should speak to a rep when you file the claim in order to do this. If you don’t request a combined-wage claim, the number of weeks paid will be only about 14 v. the normal 26. Under a regular claim with your work history, NJ will pay about 60% of your average weekly wage for 26 weeks.

      Apply in NJ.

  • David Pennington

    David 7/30/2017
    Yes i got fired from my job in oklahoma on 7/2/2017 i started work at my job on 2/14/17 i made over $2500 in the q1 and made over $6500 the q2 and made approxmentley $2000 q3 and i eas wondering if i quified for unemployment benefits

  • Julie

    If I get offered a job, it can be another 6 weeks until I get hired. SO – is this 6 weeks from the date of the call where they say I’m hired OR 6 weeks from the date when I put it in the computer that I was hired? What will happen if it’s more than 6 weeks? They don’t know my start date yet.

    • When you actually start depends on the employer. There is no rule the employer must follow. You don’t put anything in the computer to the unemployment people about this potential job AT ALL. You continue to search for work and file weekly claims until the day you begin that job. When you begin work, you stop claiming. If you now alert unemployment about a job offer which won’t begin for six weeks or longer, if at all, your benefits will stop. The state computers are not set up to allow you to continue to claim if you report a job prospect weeks in advance of a start date. Don’t do it.

  • Curious in SC

    I am currently employed (state of SC) working 30 hours a week. My office will close in July 2018. I am also self employed filing a 1099 yearly making less than $8000 yearly. Will I be eligible to receive Unemployment Benefits? Would I be eligible to attend college while receiving benefits?

    • You would apply for benefits on the basis of the 30 hr. week job. The SE work doesn’t interfere w/your ability to search for or accept work. Nonetheless, cease and desist from any SE work for at least one month prior to discharge. If you do not do this, SC could take the position that the SE work is your last employment and deny benefits. However, going forward, as you see income from that job, you will need to report those earnings to SC as they occur when you claim benefits.

      When you begin school, SC will need to approve your class schedule in order to continue to pay benefits. You need to demonstrate that your class schedule will not prevent you from searching for and accepting work.

  • Priya

    Hello- I’ve a situation. I have never been unemployed for more than 3 months since 2012-2013. I’m currently pregnant start working for this company January 9, 2017. My boss (supervisor) told me I’m great at working and get my work done however he doesn’t like my attitude. Because I told him I was not well and would like to leave 20 minutes before normal dismissed time. He claims he don’t like being told he like being asked and I apologize to him but the pulled me in the office three times in the same day to talk about the same thing. I told him it was okay I’m going to leave the normal hour as everyone else, but I’m always the first one in and out the office cause my hours are different. I had a few conversation with my branch manager about my supervisor always at my desk not allowing me to work and always in my face like 7-8 inches apart face to face. It makes me very uncomfortable and he also likes to touch me on my should or pat me on my back and I made it clear to him and my branch manager I didn’t like it. After I complain to my branch manager he ( my supervisor) stop talking to me about 2 weeks ignore my emails about work ( I work on his team however being paid by the company which is run by the branch manager). I still continue working there after a while he started to communicate with me again and start the same thing always in my face and have certain rude conversations. He said he made it clear to his wife, myself and other he don’t like people giving him attitude. I’m not sure what he was referring to I’m giving him attitude. So I said I’m as I apologized in the email that I will stay until everyone is ready to leave he said to me he doesn’t mind start making arrangements for me to leave that if I want to. I didn’t answer him he repeatedly ask me the question I said I never told you so and I feel it’s best if we have the branch manager involved in this conversation because he was raising his voice at me. He claims that everyone ever work with him only last a fews months cause they all have an attitude. But this has been a pattern with him for also two years. All his employee/ team members leave after a few months because of the same reason. He was like I’ll have the branch manager fired you because of your attitude. I then emailed the branch manager to have a sit down conversation about this and never did I get a response. I email him my cell # and also asked him to have a sit down conversation when I go in Wednesday to work. As per my supervisor he made it point blank verbally I’m no longer needed. What can be done at this point?

    Please advise, I’m really looking forward for some guidance.


    • As per my supervisor he made it point blank verbally I’m no longer needed.

      So, are you fired or not? And, what STATE are you in? The STATE matters. Presumably, you have at least your end of this issue in writing when you emailed the branch manager. Go in to work – they will either send you home or they won’t. If they fire you, apply for benefits. No doubt employer will say you had a bad attitude and you will receive a denial. You appeal this decision and present your side of the situation at appeal.

      • Priya

        Okay, great appreciate your help. I’m in New York.

        • Well, you’re fortunate to be in NY. NY examines carefully the facts of a separation – and, unlike many states, doesn’t just accept anything the employer says. If you are clear in explaining the exact circumstances of the discharge, there’s a good chance NY should approve the claim without an appeal.

  • Scott

    This is in NJ. Fired 2/2/17. Have had unemployment benefits since. About to take a full-time temporary job for 4 months through a staffing company. I still have $1700 left of the initial 6 months of benefits. What happens to the $1700 after the temp gig is up and I do not get another gig immediately?

    • You call NJ to REOPEN the claim. Assuming you file for benefits in Feb. 2017, you have until Feb. 2018 to collect the balance of your claim award. Be sure to keep in touch with the temp agency when the job ends, keep written records of all contacts – phone calls/emails – or temp agency will say you quit and you won’t be allowed to reopen the claim.

  • Mike


    I have had a job in NYC since January 9th, 2017. I’ve been given two weeks notice and my last day will be end of Junes on 6/30/2017. So It’s almost 6 months, (5 months and 21 days). I’m I eligible to get my unemployment insurance, or it has to be exact 6 months.


    • In NY, if you haven’t quit an earlier job, length of time at this job isn’t how benefits are determined. If you are being laid off you are eligible. The amount of wages in a base period between Jan-Dec. 2016, or Apr 2016-Mar 2017 will determine your benefit. Whichever base period qualifies you first, NY will use. However, NY will allow you to request a more advantageous base period if your benefit improves. Essentially NY will divide your high quarter by 26 and pay you that amount not to exceed $430.

      Read more here:

  • Amiya

    I have a recurring 10 month contracted job @ 20hrs a week. Can I collect for those 2 months until I return for my next 10 month contract (and not have to worry about losing my job).

    • Whether or not your employer chooses to hire you back after you’ve applied for unemployment benefits for those two months is up to them. There is no law they must take you back. If they routinely hire people on contract, you won’t be the first to apply for benefits when that contract ends.

  • I worked at one company for 3 years, June 20 2016 i had to leave due to Herniated disc surgery. Those weekly paychecks i was working over time. i was out from end of june till september 2016 where i got a desk job. i earned salary 675 a week before taxes until april 8 2017 i was fored since i wasn’t able to earn 10,000 on revenue in 8 week period. Will i be eligible for unemployment? I worked only in IL for these jobs. Thank you

  • Shira

    I live in NYC. I began working as a w2 from beginning of January 2017 until the end of April. I was a 1099 for the previous year January through august and then unemployed the remainder of the year. Do I qualify for unemployment?

  • Sarah

    I am 32 weeks pregnant and my doctor is suggesting on medical leave early if so my boss said this will end my job assignment.. and will have to be rehired once of mwdical restricrions once baby is born and i have concent from my doctor to return.. now with having 8 weeks left in my pregnancy and my boss having to end my job assignment will i be able to get help?

    • What state are you in? If you are in CA, NY, NJ you can collect disability benefits for this pregnancy and then apply for unemployment benefits when the disability period is over if your firm does not rehire you.

  • Jamichael vaughn

    How many months are required at a job before u can file unemployment ?

    • Depends on your state. In some states it isn’t months, it is how much you’ve earned in a calendar quarter.

      • Angela Dye

        I worked from Oct 2016 to May 2017 but nothing prior to tha and was laid off. I filed for unemployment and received a letter of certification with a date to certify but it also said I was ineligible because I didn’t earn any income Jan to March 2016. Is there anything I can do. I live in Illinois.

        • Call IL – tell them you have paystubs/proof of earnings through 03/31/2017. IL will need you to fax or mail those in. It’s possible your employer is reporting late and first quarter earnings are not yet in IL’s database. This is a common occurrence. Your proof of earnings is what they need.

  • Lisa

    I have a full time job in MD. I have been working since Nov. 11, 2015 to April 28, 2017 (my last day), my employer gave me a last day of work as of April 28th due to the fact that I wanted to find a job closer to home. I brought home between 311.00 – 480.00. Will I be able to qualify unemployment?

    • Yes, you qualify. You have plenty of work history. Apply for benefits.

      • Agustina A. Snyder

        Hi, I am a seasonal workers for three season already, here in Florida. I got a hardship to find a job due to my lack of experienced. My past job experience was in Japan where I was before, me, and my present husband get married. I worked only 4 to 5 months yearly until the season comes again. Do am I qualify to apply for an unemployment benefits.

        • You will need to show earnings in two quarters during the period Jan.-Dec. 2016. Apply for benefits. Let FL determine your eligibility.

          • Angelica

            Hello, I worked for a family business 2013 to 2017. And I got offered another job but I didn’t pass the requirements to stay at the new job. And I’ve only worked at this job for a month.Is it possible to be eligible ? In CA

          • It’s possible depending on why you quit the earlier job – was it materially better? If so, be prepared to document that in detail when you are interviewed. Apply for benefits. If CA determines you quit the other job for good reason, it may grant benefits.

            If you are initially denied, ignore that decision and file an appeal request. Interviewers aren’t given much latitude on subjective decisions. ALJs, at appeal hearings, will examine the facts of the case carefully. It always pays to appeal in CA.

  • John

    I worked in another state for 3 months and was fired for looking for a new opportunity. Can I file unemployment? If so what state?

  • Treasa Lee

    I live in Florida and am on unemployment. I have been offered a job, but it won’t start for 6 weeks. Do I still have to search for jobs until then or can I just file for unemployment without the job searches?

  • Elaine L. Crosby

    I live in neb. and I worked for 12 years at a company an am collecting unemployment an found out I can only collect for 6 months but the time period for my unemployment is a year and I cannot file again for that year. Which doesn’t make sense to me. If your claim is for a year why aren’t they paying you for a year, especially when you have worked 12 years and have paid in every year. Its ridiculous and I can’t understand how they can do that. I asked about extension and they said there is none. Wow. 12 years and this is what they give me. I am 61 an was planning on taking early retirement which my birthday is in December. but because of the year I was born I have to wait 2 months after my birthday to collect. If I could have collected unemploymnet for the full year, I would be ok. Is there anything, we as people, who have paid for this, can do?

    • No state pays more than 30 weeks, most states pay 26 weeks, and quite a few pay fewer than 26 weeks, some as few as 12 weeks.

      Look at the dollar award of the claim. Divide that by 26 – should equal your weekly benefit.

      You are given one year – the benefit year – to collect the claim award. That one year does not guarantee benefits for each of those 52 weeks.

  • Barbara wendt

    Son has been working for the same company for over 30 years they just started working 3 days a week out of the normal 5 cutting his pay to 24 hours a week, he needs the normal 40 hours to pay his insurance and home bills. Is he eligible for partial unimployment? His company told he he will not be able to draw partial.

    • What state? Only NC will not pay partial benefits if he works 3 full-time days in a week. Otherwise, partial benefits are dependent on his gross earnings relative to your state’s partial benefit formula. An hours reduction of 40% might allow for a very small benefit in some states if you are in a state whose weekly unemployment benefit is about 50% of his weekly wage and the partial benefit formula is grossed up at least 50% over the WBA. Simplest thing would be to tell us your state.

      A better and fairer result for all employees would be if the employer would apply for Work Sharing status. Unless you are in a very retrograde state, this program should be available in your state. NJ, PA, CA all offer this program. CA has a good explanation of the guidelines, here:

      Since son and I assume his coworkers will be experiencing a 40% hours reduction, they definitely qualify for this program.

  • Tracy

    I live in Ct and have been at this job since Oct 1st 2016 and they are not doing well money wise and might lose my job. So I have been here for 4 months. Would I be able to collect unemployment ?
    thanks !!!

  • Bella

    Hi, I have been working since Dec. 2016 until Feb. 21, 2017. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits? I live and work in NYC. Thank you for your help.

    • Length of time on the current job is irrelevant. Your claim will be based on all earnings between Jan-Dec. 2016. If your only earnings in 2016 were in December, you do not qualify. NY requires you have earnings in at least two quarters of your base period.

  • Amber

    This is in NC. I was hired in July 2016 and I was also just fired two days ago. I worked for right at 7 months and I made $375-$420 a week.

    I was let go due to attendance to care for my 13 years old daughter who receive mental help due to depression and emotional distress etc.

    Employer had a rule that if you missed 6 days you were fired. Every 28 days one absence would go away and the number went down. Right after Christmas is when my daughter needed treatment, I was at 4 absents. The on-site Dr at my job took me out of work for a week due to me having the flu and a temp of 104. I did not get an absence. After a week I go back to work. I missed a day bc once again involving my child. 5.5 absences. A few nights later I got another emergency call.

    I called my supervisor and asked to use my vacation time to allow me to care for my daughter. This would have prevented me going up to 6. She did with other employees when they needed to.

    She did not for me however. I got to the firing point 6.

    I was just unsure if I’d be eligible for benefits or not.

    • I’ve reduced your post to the salient points.

      Your supervisor’s attitude about the Dr. taking you off for a week and what she has done for others is irrelevant. Supervisor has discretion whether to grant use of vacation time to avoid the 6 day limit. In your case, probably because of the frequency of absences in such a short period, especially by a new employee, she chose not to and you were discharged.

      Generally, claims are established if one is discharged for medical reasons and/or other compelling family reasons. Your daughter’s issues can be viewed as compelling.

      By all means apply. You will need to provide medical evidence for these absences – and you need to be able to assure NC you are able and available to search for and accept work.

      NC may very well initially deny – in which case appeal. There are no guarantees. All you can do is work your way through the process.

  • Betsy

    HI I was working in orthodontists office I started January 27,2017 they Just texted me today saying I no longer work with them. So almost 3 weeks i believe would I be elgibale for unemployment

  • Nazanin Nahavandi

    I live in New York and I have been unemployed for the past 5 months. In 2016 I worked three temporary/ contract positions found through temporary agencies. Do I still qualify for unemployment?

  • Dehs

    I am being laid off in TX due to my position being eliminated by the company. I worked there from July 4,2016 and my last day will be February 15, 2017. That is just over 7 months. I worked other places during the other quarters of the past year, but I am wondering if I still qualify for unemployment from this company even though I haven’t worked there all year?

    • You don’t need a year’s employment with your current employer. UI benefits are determined by wages in your base period from all employers. When you apply, TX will look at all wages in the base period between Oct. 1, 2015-Sept. 30, 2016.

      Go ahead and apply on your last day of work. TX will investigate this current layoff and any other separations from previous employers in the base period. The prior separations, even if quits, should not matter because you’ve been with this current employer long enough to purge any penalty for a nonqualifying separation.

  • Stacie

    I’ve been working in California for the past seven years and am thinking about moving to Connecticut to be closer to family. I wouldn’t move until I have a new job lined up, however my concern is that I quit my current job, we make the move and then shortly after I get let go from my new job in Connecticut. If that happened would I be eligible for benefits in CA or CT?

  • Kelly Wilson

    I worked as a leasing agent from 9/2/14- 10/2/15, I quit because I needed knee surgery and would be out of work for months. While out of work, my boyfriend committed suicide. It took me a while to recover from the trauma. I returned to work, as a receptionist at a granite company on 9/26/16. I was harassed at this job by the office manager, my direct boss. I respectfully spoke up on Tuesday 1/31/17. I was off on my regularly scheduled day Wednesday 2/1/17. I returned to work on 2/2/17 and was told by the owner of the company I was fired. I live in Nevada, a right to work state. Questions: was it legal to fire me? Did I work there long enough to collect unemployment? Was my gap between too long to qualify?

    • Yes, it was legal to fire you. Employers in right-to-work states don’t need a reason.

      If you file now, Nevada will use its alternate base period which will include earnings Jan.-Dec. 2016. You need two quarters of earnings, and total wages must equal 1.5x your high quarter. You didn’t work enough in September to meet that latter requirement. This is what NV says on monetary eligibility:

      To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must meet one or the other of the following conditions. You must have base period earnings:

      1. Equal to or exceeding one and one-half times the high quarter earnings, or
      2. Wages in each of at least three of the four quarters in the past base period.

      Under both conditions, you must earn at least $400 in the high quarter.

  • Beverly

    I live in Houston and was layed off last February. I filed a claim and received only 1 check before I found another job. I was layed off from that job in September. I filed for unemployment and was told I already had an active claim that lasts 1 year. So I started receiving unemployment checks until the funds ran out. I have been desperately looking for work but have not had any luck. Could I file another claim in February if I still cannot find a job?

    • Yes, you absolutely can file in February at your benefit year-end.

      Because you have worked since you were laid off previously, you have eligibility for a requalifying second-year claim when the first claim expires.

  • Nancy Diaz

    Hi, I live in NYC and am employed with two part time jobs. I am losing one of my positions due to budget cuts. Can I get unemployment for a part time job of 15 hours per week with a salary of 900 bi- weekly??

    • No. NY’s maximum weekly benefit is $430. You are earning $450/week which is in excess of that. NY may establish the claim, but it won’t pay a benefit because your earnings are higher than your WBA.

  • Laverne Greene

    My mother has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and I need to quit my job in one state to care for her. Can I collect unemployment until I find a job in that state? I’ve only been on this job less than a year but left my previous job of four years to work this job.

  • Armin

    Hello I live in california

    I started a new job beginning of jan 2017, i was only there for 2 weeks and they let me go. Am i eligible for unemployment?

  • AJ

    Hello! I live in Texas and started working Oct 12th 2016 until Dec 29th 2016. I was very sick and went to the emergency room (hooked up to IVs etc) and my doctors records recommended me not to go back to work for 4 days. Previous to that day before going to the ER, I called to let my boss know I would not be able to come in until later because I did not feel well. We argued over the phone because she gave me an ultimatum and said I had one hour to get there to which of course I couldn’t because I was really sick. The next thing I know, friends from work asked if I quit because my name was off the staff list. Do I qualify for unemployment since I didn’t work there for that long/technically got laid off with ought her telling me?

    Thank you

    • Yes, you are eligible for benefits. Apply immediately. You were discharged, regardless of what employer says. TX will conduct an investigation on the circumstances surrounding the discharge and will require you provide medical evidence for the absence. Whether you qualify monetarily for benefits depends on earnings in your base period October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016. Length of time at your current employer isn’t the issue, total wages in your base period are.

      • AJ

        THANK YOU for the response and information! 🙂 Point of a clarification the date is October 1st 2016 is when I started at that job, if that makes a difference since you said October 1st 2015-Septemeber 30th 2016.

        Thanks again

        • The point is your claim will be based on ALL earnings October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016. This is called the BASE PERIOD on which the benefit is based. Length of time at the current employer doesn’t matter. What matters is your earnings in the base period. A qualifying separation such as you experienced allows a claim against TX earnings in that base period.

          If the job you just lost has been your only employment in TX going back to October 2015, then you do not qualify for benefits in TX at this time.

          If you’ve had other work outside of TX in that time frame, list where and when. It is possible you qualify in another state.

  • Ann Priest

    My daughter lives in South Carolina. She has worked for a business as a W-2 employee starting 1/1/2016 ( the prior year she had worked as a 1099 employee. She was laid off effective 12/30/2016 for as a result of a slowdown in business. She netted about $400 a week. Will she qualify in South Carolina and, if so, will they count all four quarters in 2016, to determine her weekly benefit, since she was an employee only in 2016.

    • You daughter should wait to apply until January, at which time SC will use earnings for the three quarters Jan-September. If she applies now, earnings in her base period will be Jan-June 2016. She needs only two quarters of earnings in her base period for eligibility, but the extra quarter of earnings should provide a better benefit.

  • callcenter

    i was hired oct 6, 2016 and started oct 17,2016. i was fired 12/27/16. i live in Tx when can i file? because ive been there for a short time will i still be able to get unemployment? i was fired because my % of sales wasn’t high enough.

    • You don’t have any eligibility in TX. Even if you apply in January, TX will use earnings through 9/30 – and will not include the TX wages Oct-Dec as those wages are in TX alternate base period which can only be used for people who were out of work for a long period during the base period because of a medically verifiable illness, injury, disability or pregnancy.

      If you have earnings in another state before you moved to TX, apply there. Your TX earnings should purge any monetary penalty because of the quit. You will need to provide proof of TX earnings (paystubs) to the other state.

  • Shay Timken

    Lead operator accused my husband of stealing and ticked off my husband as he bought the items as the company wouldn’t pay for extra. So he yelled at the lead for accusing him of stealing. Written up due to insubordination. Now written up for an incident that he talked “loudly” to the third shift operator. Area is an extruding operation area. Two running and very loud. She claimed he “pinned” her to the table. He said she was always to his side. He didn’t know that she had filed a complaint on him stating he left the area a mess. Why be aggressive if you don’t know about the complaint??? She claimed that she felt threatened. He had only asked her if he was doing his job and keeping the area cleaned up and prepared for her. She said yes it was good. Come to find out the next day she had filed a complaint because she claimed her area wasn’t cleaned when she came in. She got a complaint from the 1st shift operator for the 3rd shift leaving messes. All lead operators do a check and then they sign off on the paperwork stating the area is clean. Office wrote up my husband for being aggressive and threatening. He wrote his statement stating what happened when talking to the operator. He even talked to the Lead operator and she said she could always say something to him with no worries. She stated she never saw anything that needed to be done except for one time. (he has all his documentation.)

    He is being let go tomorrow. He asked for training on other machines. Nothing was ever done by management yet they allowed training for other younger employees. Not going to say age discrimination because he is 54 but they never gave him an opportunity to move.

    If he resigns, would he be able to collect unemployment? Works in Michigan and lives in Ohio…if needed.

    • He absolutely should NOT RESIGN. It is much easier to get benefits under a discharge. A quit causes all kinds of issues, especially in your husband’s situation. If there are employer accusations of misconduct, no matter what he says, he will be denied and need to appeal. MI provides free unemployment advocates for help with appeals. When he applies, the website should alert him to that fact. Utilize the advocates. They are very helpful.

  • Malgorzata

    I have been employed with a company in NY for 9 years. In the 3rd year I was given the ability to work from home due to the birth of a child. The company has fired everyone in my dept except for me and is now demanding that I come back to work in the office. I am unable to do this due to the birth of another child who is 3 months old and they will not disclose the reason why my remote position has been terminated. I have asked for time to find a babysitter or service that is affordable but was informed that if I did not show up for work It would be considered job abandonment. Am I able to quit and still be able to claim unemployment due to these circumstances?
    How should I proceed to have the greatest chance of claiming unemployment?

    • First, address this grievance with your employer asking for a return to your original position working remotely from home, telling them if they are unable to do this, you have no recourse but to consider yourself discharged. Keep good documentation of this.

      Essentially, you are experiencing a material change in the terms of your employment contract and being offered new, unsuitable work (as to location) – which under federal law is grounds for a “good cause quit.” You are within your rights to refuse this “new unsuitable work.”

      You then apply for benefits, stating you have been discharged. Employer, of course, will say you have quit. There is never a guarantee of an approval, but you are on solid ground. If for some reason NY denies initially, you should win on appeal.

  • Stanton

    I live in NY. But I worked in the District of Columbia from Aug. 22 2016 to Oct. 31, 2016. Made ~$10,000. Now I’m back home (NY state). I have tried to file in DC, but it says I need to file in NY (is this because it’s too early to file for these quarters?). Tried filing in NY and they said to file in DC (because I haven’t worked in NY). Do I just need to wait until Q4 is over and then file in DC again?

  • Peter Smith

    I just got fired and last month I made over $3000 my first month. Can I apply for unemployment?

  • Jesse

    I work for the state of ny dec and I am seasonal. I started June 1 2016 and my last day will be the last day of November I want to kno if I qualify for unemployment this season because I started a couple months late into the season. Or if I have to wait till next season

    • NY says:

      • You must have worked and been paid wages in jobs covered by Unemployment Insurance in at least two calendar quarters;
      • You must have been paid at least $1,900 in one calendar quarter; and
      • The total wages paid to you must be at least 1.5 times the amount paid to you in your high quarter. Exception: If your high quarter wages were $9,350 or more, you must have been paid at least $4,675 (half of $9,350) total in the other three quarters of your base period

      Quarters NY can consider now under its Alternate Base Period are:
      4Q15 – Oct-Dec. 2015
      1Q16 – Jan-Mar 2016
      2Q16 – Apr-Jun 2016
      3Q16 – Jun-Sep 2016

      More info on pages 8-9, here:

      So check your earnings. Otherwise, if you can wait until the last week in December to apply, under its Alternate Base Period, NY can consider earnings Jan-Dec. 31, 2016.

      In either case, when you apply, you need to request NY use its Alternate Base Period. Best talk to a rep when you apply.

  • If you work full time at one job in Ohio then take another job in Michigan and are fired from the Michigan job after ten weeks, can you file for unemployment and what percentage of income would you get?

    • Yes, you can apply for benefits, but MI should not be your first choice for a claim. Because you have earnings in two states you are entitled to two claims, if you time this correctly.

      Apply first in Ohio. Ohio will use wages July 2015-June 2016 to establish the claim. Ohio will pay a benefit of up to 50% of your average weekly wage, not to exceed $435 for 26 weeks. Ohio also pays a dependent allowance. More info, here:

      When the Ohio claim is exhausted, if you are still unemployed, you can apply in MI for a combined-wage claim. Assuming, you do so in May 2017, Michigan will use earnings July 2016-December 2016, which will encompass whatever remains of your Ohio earnings and all of your MI earnings. MI only pays up to $362/wk. for no more than 20 weeks.

      Otherwise, if you apply for a combined-wage claim in MI now, MI will need to use its alternate base period to qualify you in order to encompass the MI earnings through 9/30/2016 and also the Ohio earnings going back to 10/2015. This is how MI calculates benefits:

      The amount you receive in unemployment benefits is calculated by multiplying the highest amount of wages paid to you in any base period quarter by 4.1%. The UIA adds $6 for each dependent you claim, up to five dependents. According to State law, a worker can receive no more than $362 per week.

      In addition, MI is very punitive if you work part-time while collecting benefits. You lose an entire week of benefits even though MI may only pay you $50 or $100 because of earnings.

      You’re much better off w/Ohio. Start there.

  • How long do you need to be unemployed, before filing for unemployment benefits. Also, if you had to leave the job, due to health/disability, does this effect application for unemployment. I’m able to work part time, but not with my last employer. Due to the expectations, of the last employer, my health conditions – won’t permit me, to work there, even in a part time capacity. Please advise!


    • How long you need to work to qualify for benefits depends on the state. A medical quit is not necessarily disqualifying if you can work similar hours at different work. Your state will want proof of that.

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