Locate a Local Employment LawyerMost Common Employment Law Issues:
- Sexual Harassment
- Employment Contracts
- Wages and Overtime Pay
- Employment Discrimination
- Workplace Disputes
- Pensions and Benefits
- Wrongful Termination
What Are Unemployment Benefits?
Unemployment benefits are intended to support employees who have been laid off or fired. If an employee is laid off, gets fired, or even quits, they might be entitled to unemployment benefits.
You can collect unemployment benefits if the following is true:
- You are out of work through no fault of your own. For example, you were off for economic reasons, a reduction in workforce, or a lack of work. If you were fired due to your own fault or because of an illegal conduct committed while on the job, then you are most likely not eligible for unemployment benefits.
- You must be available to work and be actively seeking work.
- You must have worked a minimum number of hours and received a minimum amount of wages.
To continue receiving benefits, you must file a claim every two weeks that you are unemployment. You must also provide the Department of Labor information about the amounts you have received up to that period and you must disclose your efforts in finding employment.
How Much Unemployment Benefits Will I Receive?
The amount of money that you will receive once you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits depends on the amount of your prior earnings. Generally, an employee will receive a percentage of their prior earnings, which is capped by a number set by the state.
Weekly Benefit Rate
The amount of unemployment benefits you may receive each week is your Weekly Benefit Rate (WBR). The amount is 60% of the average weekly earnings that you received during your base year period. The maximum amount may change each year.
The total amount of unemployment benefits that you may collect is called the Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA). The MBA is equal to the WBR times the total number of weeks you had worked in the base year period. For every week you worked during your base year period, you may be permitted to a week of benefits, up to a maximum of 26 times your Weekly Benefit Rate.
Example: An individual worked 20 weeks during the base year period. The Weekly Benefit Rate is $200. The Maximum Benefit Amount will be $200 times 20 weeks ($4,000).
How Can I Calculate How Much Unemployment Benefits Will I Receive?
To find out how much you will receive in benefits, you must determine what formula your state uses. You can find this information on your state’s unemployment agency website. You will also need to know your earnings for the period that your state uses in its calculation.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File an Unemployment Benefits Claim?
If you have been laid off or believe that you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you may contact your state’s unemployment insurance agency to find out more about your state’s laws on eligibility for unemployment benefits. If you are facing a lawsuit or believe that you have been unlawfully denied unemployment benefits, you should consult an employment attorney to discuss your options.