Personal Finance Tip of the Day

Handy Law Answer Book
ISBN: 9781578592173

If you are fired from your job, can you obtain unemployment benefits coverage, and how does the process work?

  • It depends on where you live.
  • You may be an exception if you engaged in "willful misconduct."
  • If you left your job involuntarily, you can likely receive unemployment coverage.
  • You begin the process with an application to your state's department of labor.

It depends. In many jurisdictions, workers who lose their job can apply for--and often receive--unemployment benefits coverage for a certain period of time. However, there is usually an exception for workers who engaged in so-called "willful misconduct." There are also exceptions for those who willingly leave jobs and for those who are principally self-employed (own their own business). Thus, if you are fired from your job due to a typical reduction-in-force or because of a general layoff, you likely can receive unemployment benefit coverage for a period of time. However, if you were fired for stealing employer property, then you are unlikely to receive unemployment benefit coverage.

If a worker is involuntarily let go from employment, he or she is eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. If you willingly leave a job, then you are not entitled to such benefits. The worker then applies with the state department of labor. That administrative entity then makes a determination as to whether the employee is entitled to unemployment benefits. The employer is given an opportunity to contest the employee's application for benefits.

After the administrative decision approving or denying benefits, then either the employee or the employer can appeal that finding to a court of law for a determination.

From The Handy Law Answer Book by David L. Hudson, Jr., JD., (c) 2010 Visible Ink Press(r) Combines practical legal tips with an exhaustive overview of U. S. law to answer to more than 800 legal questions.
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