Unemployment Insurance: Quit vs. Fired

For many people if not absolutely everybody, it can be a jolting experience to find yourself unemployed. With a range of emotions from anger to shock all the way to sadness, it is safe to say this is a very difficult time for you. Quite often, one of the few things that get people through these rocky periods is the unemployment benefits you are legally entitled to. This can be the only financial lifeline many unemployed have in their time of need and as such it is of the utmost importance to them. However, unfortunately many people don’t realize that there are circumstances where you can unknowingly put yourself in a position of disqualifying yourself from unemployment benefits through your own actions! It is vital to know the laws regarding unemployment eligibility prior to relying on such assistance. Whether you were fired, quit, or laid-off it matters! Here is some essential information that currently or potentially unemployed people will find highly beneficial:

Can I quit my job and collect unemployment insurance benefits?

This is one of the most common misconceptions among unemployment benefits. The general rule of thumb is that a person who chooses to voluntarily leave a job without “good cause”, is NOT eligible for benefits. That said, there are situations in which a voluntary unemployment status such as quitting to care for a child or spouse with an illness or disability, you will likely be able to argue that you should be entitled to benefits. The specific laws vary from state to state so check the specific state laws on your states unemployment website.

There are times where you can feel that you have been “forced out” or couldn’t take your work environment any longer, which you feel can be directly attributed to the employer. Generally speaking your complaint must relate to the wages, hours, or working conditions of the job. A change in conditions created by your employer or a breach of your employment agreement which is substantial and adversely affects you may be good cause to quit. Also, if the job itself adversely affects your health or aggravates or worsens a medical condition, it could be good cause to quit.

You were fired, can you collect unemployment insurance benefits?

In all likelihood, if you were fired from your job, you will probably be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits. With that said, if you are fired you may potentially be disqualified for benefits if your former employer can prove any of the following:

  • Conduct which is a felony under the law and occurred in the course of your employment
  • Participation in a strike which is illegal under law or regulations
  • You were sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 30 days or longer
  • Willful or intentional misconduct in the course of your employment
  • You were fired as a result of a drug or alcohol testing program mandated by law

These are just a few of the many ways your former employer can fight back against your ability for receive unemployment insurance benefits. It is vital that you educate yourself on your rights in your particular state. Educate yourself to assure you get what is rightfully yours.

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