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During the 2020 pandemic, a wave of newly unemployed individuals filed for unemployment benefits for the first time. Now, as more job opportunities are becoming available, and more remote jobs open up, those who were on unemployment are now being disqualified. But what exactly disqualifies you from receiving unemployment benefits? This article will go over why you might get disqualified. We will also take a look at other qualifications and whether or not you can work while getting unemployment benefits.

What Are The Eligibility Requirements for Receiving Unemployment Benefits?

When discussing unemployment benefits, we have to remember that each state determines its own specifics. This means requirements vary from state to state. Because of this, it’s important to research requirements based on where you live. Your local unemployment office will help you understand this better. Despite this, most states do have some commonalities when it comes to basic requirements. Here are two basic requirements:

  1. Your company fired you or laid you off. Most states require that your unemployed situation must not be your own fault. You likely aren’t eligible if you were fired for your own mistakes or faults. This can include layoffs for reasons of lack of needed roles or work, and company cutbacks. 
  2. You worked for 4 of the last 5 business quarters. If you only were employed for a month or two, you might not be eligible for unemployment. Most states require this work history in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits. This is called the base period. 

Most states hold these requirements. However, some states may add other requirements. Make sure you contact your local unemployment office! This will give you a full overview of what is required for you to receive unemployment. 

How Do You Maintain Your Eligibility for Unemployment?

The initial qualification for unemployment considers the previously mentioned criteria. However, there are other things you must do to remain eligible for unemployment. Again these requirements can vary from state to state. Despite this, there are some pretty common things you have to do to maintain your benefit status. Here are a few common requirements:

Engage In Job Searching Activity

In order to maintain unemployment benefits in most states, you have to actively search for a job. This can look like a variety of things. You can either partner with a job searching agency, apply to job postings regularly, or set up interviews. Make sure you keep track of all job-searching activities you do throughout the week. Consider making a log that you fill in each time you apply or interview for a job. 

Accept Any Offered, Reasonable Job

While going through the job searching process, the unemployment office requires you to accept any job you are offered that is reasonable. The goal of unemployment is to help you bridge the gap between being fired and being hired. Because of this, you are expected to accept any job you are offered. There is a caveat here. You are not expected to accept a job that is outside your normal field of work. Especially if it is a significant decrease in income. In most cases, if the new job offer is for less than 90% of your previous income, you are not expected to accept the position. 

Stay Within The Eligibility Window

While the period varies from state to state, typically, there is a range of anywhere between 26-52 weeks that you are eligible. The unemployment office might disqualify you after this time frame passes.

Submit Weekly Requests

Again, this might change based on your location. However, most states require you to submit a weekly request for benefits. When you submit your request, you might have to provide information regarding the above requirements. 

What Would Disqualify You for Unemployment Benefits?

Unfortunately, breaking any of these requirements could cause you to lose your unemployment benefits. Refusing to engage in job searching activity, or rejecting viable jobs can result in an investigation into your activity which might end with you being dropped for benefits. If you progress out of the allotted timeframe (between 26-52 weeks) then you will also likely lose out on your benefits. Failing to submit your weekly request will also result in disqualification.

Other than these things, there is another reason you could be dropped from unemployment benefits. If you begin working, especially full-time work, it is likely your benefits will be either stopped or decreased. If it is discovered you began working and still tried to receive benefits, you will also likely be dropped. On top of that, there are also other consequences you should be aware of.

Do You Have To Report Any Work To The Unemployment Office?

As mentioned earlier, yes, you do have to report any work you are paid for to the unemployment office. If you do not, and it is discovered, you will almost definitely be dropped from benefits. However, more than that, you could face legal trouble as well. If you lie to the unemployment office about your income, you can be criminally prosecuted. There is also a chance that you will have to pay back the money you got, as well as a 15% charge on top. 


In all, unemployment benefits are a great resource when you are in between jobs. Utilizing it to help keep you afloat is what it is there for! But, if you can’t keep up with the requirements, or you take too long to find a new job, you might be disqualified for unemployment benefits. Keep an eye on the requirements to make sure you are taking care of everything you need to while on unemployment to ensure you can keep the benefits! If you have more questions about unemployment benefits and what might disqualify you from keeping them, give our team a call today at 833-272-3631! We can help you figure out whether or not you’re eligible for unemployment and how you can make the most of the time you have receiving your benefits. Get in touch today and we can get started. You can also take our free Unemployment Calculator below to estimate qualification and weekly benefits.

Post Author: LincolnE

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