Some of the requirements for unemployment insurance have changed and the more than 30 million Americans receiving benefits will have to check more boxes to stay eligible.
When applying for unemployment benefits you have to file a claim with your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after losing your job or getting hours cut.
Many Americans who are ineligible for unemployment insurance (UI) may qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that covers self-employed individuals, contractors, and others and is available until the end of January 2021.
What are the requirements for UI?
The first requirement is that you should have lost your job through no fault of your own and you lost your job because of a lack of available work.
The second requirement is to meet the criteria for wages earned or time worked. In most states, this means you had to be employed at your company for at least four out of five complemented calendar quarters.
The rest of the requirements vary by state but include:
Ability to work
Actively seeking work
Available for work
Not refuse an offer of suitable work
The “actively searching for job” requirement was waived in all 50 states at the beginning of the pandemic, but is now being re-imposed in some states, which may make the application process more complicated for some jobless Americans.
How are the requirements changing?
The requirement exists in all states but was waived due to the pandemic in exchange for emergency federal funding. The work search requirement is being reinstated on a state-by-state basis.
The states that have already reimplemented the requirement or are about to include Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The requirement usually applies only to Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients and not to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
Unemployed Americans have to perform one or more of the following qualifying activities to meet the work search criteria, depending on your state:
Applying for jobs online in person, or by mail (the weekly number depends on your state)
Registering with a state career center
Interviewing with potential employers
Registering with private employment agencies, placement services, unions, and placement offices of schools, universities, and others
Attending job search seminars, scheduled career networking meetings, job fairs or workshops
To keep up with the latest changes in eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance, contact your state’s labor department or equivalent agency.
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