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Unemployment Insurance Basics

  1. all 50 states have unemployment insurance statutes that must meet federal guidelines; consequently, UI systems around the country share many characteristics

  2. generally, anyone who is no longer performing personal services for compensation may file a UI claim and try to draw benefits, but must meet various requirements:

    1. monetary eligibility - minimum level of earnings during the "base period"; the base period is defined by each state, but is generally a year-long period of time lagging behind the time that the initial UI claim is filed

    2. continuing eligibility requirements:

      1. the claimant must be medically able to work in some field for which he or she is qualified

      2. the claimant must be available and actively searching for full-time work

      3. the claimant must be authorized to work in the United States (there is thus no citizenship requirement; basically, anyone who can satisfy the I-9 requirements can meet this eligibility condition)

      4. the claimant must file weekly claims on time

    3. "qualification" - the claimant must be out of work through no fault of his or her own

  3. With regard to disqualification, the burden of proof is on the party who initiates the work separation: if the claimant quit, the claimant must prove good cause connected with the work for quitting; if the claimant was fired or laid off, the employer must prove that the work separation resulted from misconduct connected with the work on the claimant's part

  4. primary disqualification categories:

    1. voluntary quit for personal reasons

    2. discharge for misconduct connected with the work

    3. refusal of suitable work without good cause

    4. work stoppage resulting from participation in a labor dispute

    5. receipt of wages in lieu of notice, workers' compensation, or retirement pension


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