Unemployment insurance is a benefit offered through state governments in the United States to help residents who have recently lost their jobs have some form of income while they look for suitable employment. Many individuals may be under the impression that unemployment benefits are given to anyone who is currently without work. While most workers who have recently lost their jobs can qualify for unemployment benefits, it is important to understand that there are certain conditions one must meet in order to receive these benefits. Similarly, there are several factors that can prevent you from qualifying for unemployment. Once you qualify for unemployment, there are additional conditions you must meet in order to continue receiving unemployment benefits. The sections below discuss the details of unemployment denials. However, keep in mind that each state manages its unemployment insurance program differently.
What are the most common reasons for an unemployment insurance rejection?
There are several reasons why your application for unemployment insurance can be rejected. The most common reason relates to the condition of your employment and the legal category of work that you performed. Unemployment insurance throughout the United States is typically only available to former employees. Employees usually have taxes deducted from their paychecks and receive W-2 tax forms for purposes of filing taxes. Not every worker is classified as an employee. Many companies hire independent contractors who do not have taxes deducted from their paychecks and typically receive 1099 tax forms. Independent contractors are generally not eligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
In addition to the nature of your employment, most states require you to have worked for a certain period of time at a job. The time you worked is typically referred to as your base period. Each state has a different definition of what constitutes your base period, although it typically consists of a one-year period. Many states also require that you earn a certain dollar amount during your base period in order to qualify for benefits. This can be a flat dollar amount or a calculation based on the quarters in which you earned the most money.
The Nature of Your Termination and Unemployment Insurance Denials
Most states will deny you benefits if you voluntarily quit your job without a good reason. Many states make exceptions for situations in which you were forced to quit or felt it necessary to quit because of unsafe working conditions, discrimination or other situations. However, quitting your job because of marriage, parenthood, relocation or dissatisfaction with your current employment will disqualify you from receiving benefits.
Most states will also deny you unemployment benefits if you have been fired from your job due to misconduct, violation of company policies and performing illegal activities. Exceptions are made for instances of illegal terminations, such as those based on discrimination or retaliation.
When applying for unemployment benefits, remember that a major component of the eligibility requirements in most states involves your availability to work. You can be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if you are deemed unemployable. This means that loss of a job due to injury, disability or illness may make you ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Keep in mind that if you do lose your job due to injury or disability, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits, although these benefits are managed through a different government agency.
Providing False Information
Your state’s department of labor will investigate all the information you provide on your unemployment application, including your employment history and the condition of your termination. Keep in mind that you will need to report any severance pay or vacation pay you may have received as part of your termination. Failure to provide accurate information may result in denial of your unemployment benefits.
Unemployment Denials After You Start Receiving Benefits
You must continue to meet eligibility requirements while you continue collecting unemployment benefits. Most states require beneficiaries to remain available and willing to work while they are receiving benefits. This requirement also implies that recipients of unemployment benefits accept any suitable job offer that is presented to them. Different states may have specific definitions of what constitutes a suitable job offer. Some states may require that you accept any job that offered to you, excluding those that require you to perform criminal activities or activities that violate your moral or religious beliefs. Other states may define a suitable job as one that fits your job training and experience.
In addition to being available and willing to work, you must also actively search for employment and maintain records of your job search. Many states will require you to apply to a minimum number of jobs per week in order to continue receiving benefits. You will need to keep a detailed list of the employer’s name, its location, the job description and the date you applied as proof of your job search. Many states will require you to submit this information whenever you claim your benefits payments.
You must also report any earnings you make while you are receiving unemployment benefits. Failing to report your earnings constitutes as unemployment fraud and may have legal consequences in addition to the denial of your benefits.
How will you be notified of your unemployment insurance denial?
Many states will inform you of your denial via a letter. Some states may schedule a phone or in-person interview for you to further explain any discrepancies that appear on your application. Nevertheless, many unemployment insurance applicants and beneficiaries will know when their applications have been denied when they do not receive their benefits payments within the expected time frame. Additionally, current unemployment insurance beneficiaries will know that there is an issue with their claims when they cease to receive them. Failure to receive benefits payments may not always be the result of a denial. It is best to contact your local government agency that handles unemployment claims for a clarification if there is a delay in receiving your benefits.
Appealing an Unemployment Benefits Denial
If you believe that your state’s department of labor or other government agency handling unemployment insurance denied your application or benefits in error, you may be able to appeal the decision. Many states offer an appeals process by which applicants and/or beneficiaries can provide proof of why they deserve to receive unemployment benefits. Each state has different procedures for the unemployment appeals process, and many states may require you to attend a hearing.