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Unemployed workers who worked in covered employment are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. Covered employment is when an employee works for an employer who is required to pay monthly or quarterly unemployment insurance payments to the state. Children and adults who worked directly for their parents or spouses are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits, as this is not considered covered employment. Ministers, their administrative assistants and farmers are also not considered as working in covered employment in most states. In addition, self-employed workers do not work in covered employment. Therefore, they are not able to receive unemployment insurance benefits.
Reason for Layoff
Workers who are not laid off due to a fault of their own, including stealing, are allowed to receive unemployment insurance benefits. They must not have resigned from their job, as generally workers who resign from their jobs are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, dislocated workers must receive sufficient wages during their base period. States consider the base period as the first four of the last five quarters that the dislocated worker was employed. For example, a dislocated worker might need to have earned at least 30 percent
more than their weekly unemployment benefit amount to receive benefits. In New York workers must earn at least $1,600 a quarter to qualify to receive unemployment insurance benefits. In some states, including Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, part-time workers can receive unemployment benefits. They must not earn more than their weekly unemployment insurance benefit amount to qualify for partial benefits. For example, in New York part-time workers cannot earn more than $405 -- the state's maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount -- a week to get partial benefits.
Reduced Work Hours
People who have their work hours reduced can also apply for unemployment insurance benefits. They should file for the benefits during the first week that their work hours are reduced. Generally workers must have their hours reduced by more than one work day a week to receive the benefits.
Actively Seeking Employment
Unemployed workers are required to actively seek employment while they continue to receive unemployment insurance benefits. State labor departments require them to file weekly certification claims to continue to receive benefits. When they file the claims unemployed workers must certify that they did actively look for work and that they did not turn down suitable employment, including jobs that are comparable to the last job they held.