Unemployment benefits: can you still get them if you are fired?
With states imposing new restrictions more people are finding themselves out of work. Depending on why you lost your job you may be entitled to benefits.
As the coronavirus continues to surge through the US many states are placing restrictions on businesses through limiting opening hours and capacity inside which will invariably lead to a new round of layoffs. The good news is that those people may be eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance if they have not used up all of their benefits. The bad news is that the expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act are set to expire before the end of the year.
Unemployment benefits vary from state to state and the requirements to collect those benefits. A general rule of thumb is that an employee must be out of work through no fault of their own to be able to collect unemployment benefits but there are caveats. Workers who lose their jobs in a layoff are clearly eligible for benefits, as are most employees who are fired for reasons other than serious misconduct.
An employee leaves their work voluntarily
Even employees who leave their job voluntarily may be able to collect benefits depending on the reason for quitting. If an employee does not have “good cause” for quitting then they are not eligible for unemployment, however “good cause” varies from state to state according to NOLO a legal advice website.
Fired for serious misconduct
If employment is terminated for serious misconduct, generally speaking that individual would be ineligible for benefits either entirely or for a certain period of time known as a “disqualification period” according to NOLO a legal guidance website. The definition of misconduct can vary from state to state but the misconduct would need to be serious to make that individual ineligible for unemployment benefits.
A person’s best bet is to check with their state unemployment insurance agency to find out more about his or her eligibility for unemployment benefits. Career One Stop site, sponsored by the federal Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, provides links and contact information for every state’s unemployment insurance agency.