Can I Collect Unemployment if I am Fired?

How to Determine Unemployment Eligibility After Being Fired

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If you were fired from your job you may be eligible for unemployment, depending on the circumstances and the state you worked in. For instance, if you were fired because the job wasn't a good fit, because your position was terminated because of company cut-backs, or because of reasons like poor performance on the job or lack of skills, you may qualify for unemployment benefits.

Unemployment Benefits When You Are Fired for Cause

When you are fired for misconduct (also known as terminated for cause) you may not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, stealing, lying, failing a drug or alcohol test, falsifying records, deliberately violating company policy or rules, and other serious actions related to your employment.

Even misconduct outside of the office, such as a problematic social media post on a personal account or committing a crime, can disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits. In some states, being fired for misconduct bars you from unemployment permanently; in others, it only prevents you from receiving unemployment for a short period. 

Eligibility requirements to qualify for unemployment vary from state to state.

If you have been fired from your job and you are not sure whether you're eligible for unemployment, check with your state unemployment office to determine your eligibility for unemployment compensation.

How Does Unemployment Work? 

Unemployment compensation receives the bulk of its funding through taxes paid by employers, and each state runs its own unemployment program.

This is why there is so much variety from state to state, including if you are qualified to receive unemployment, how long you can receive, and also the amount of compensation you will receive. 

Although unemployment compensation can be very confusing, your state's unemployment website can help answer many of your questions.

As well, you can call your state's unemployment office—often, speaking directly with an informed person can help clarify confusion and get you the answers you need. 

If you do meet all the various qualifications to receive unemployment, be aware that this compensation comes with conditions. While you are receiving unemployment, you must be actively seeking a new job—and states can request proof of your job search. If you turn down a suitable position (that it, one that is reasonably on par with your previous roles in terms of responsibilities and salary),  your unemployment benefits can be terminated. As well, during the recent recession, many states changed their laws to prohibit receiving severance and unemployment benefits simultaneously. 

How to File an Unemployment Appeal

If your unemployment claim is denied by the state unemployment department or contested by your employer, you have the right to appeal the denial of your unemployment claim. Here's how to file an unemployment appeal.

Have a Question?

Check out these answers to the most frequently asked questions about termination from employment, including reasons for getting fired, employee rights when you have been terminated, collecting unemployment, wrongful termination, saying goodbye to co-workers and more.

Read More: 50+ Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Fired | What to Ask Your Employer When You're Fired

Related Articles: What Happens if an Employer Contests Unemployment Benefits? | Can I Collect Unemployment if I Quit?

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