Unemployment

Unemployment compensation benefits are weekly cash payment to workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Unemployment compensation benefits last six months or longer, depending on economic conditions, or until workers find new work. Unemployment compensation benefits create a safety net for laid off workers and are considered one of the most efficient means of stimulating a distressed economy. Following the great recession, for example, federal stimulus  funding helped states extend unemployment compensation payments for up to 90 weeks.

The federal government created unemployment compensation benefits in 1935. Employers fund unemployment benefits through a tax on payroll. States administer unemployment compensation benefits, under guidelines established by the federal government. 

To qualify for unemployment compensation benefits or insurance, employees must typically work a certain amount of time for any employer during the year or two before their employment loss, and earn a certain amount from their most recent employment. If qualified, employees are entitled to unemployment benefits or insurance, with certain exceptions. Those exceptions, known in some states as “disqualifying reasons,” include voluntary resignations and terminations for cause. 

Unemployment compensation benefits provide some cash when needed most, but not a lot of cash. The maximum weekly unemployment insurance payment in most states is between $400 and $600.

To receive unemployment insurance, employees must be able to work and looking for work. Most states have “anti-fraud” units to prevent employees from receiving benefits when they are not eligible, and to recover benefits from employees who received benefits when they were not eligible for them.

Related Articles from around the web (228)

Texas Unemployment Law - Unemployment Overpayments

Striking Out with Unemployment Benefits: Minor League Baseball (MLB) Players Hurdle to Collect Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Unemployment Is Over 10%

Unemployment Down in Maryland, or So it Seems

Unemployment Q & A’s

Unemployment Rate Down to 9.7%

Retirement and Unemployment

May Unemployment Data

Underfunding Unemployment

May Unemployment Report

May Unemployment Data

April Unemployment up to 8.9%

Latest on Unemployment

When Should Unemployment Benefits End?

June Unemployment Report

July Unemployment Data

Unemployment Rates Looking Marginally Better

Maryland Unemployment Overpayments

Lobel on Unemployment Insurance

June Unemployment Figures

Unemployment Rate Unchanged

April Unemployment Data

September Unemployment Data

November Unemployment Report

Unemployment Benefits Extended Again

Demographic Disparity in Unemployment

February Unemployment Data

June Unemployment Data

I (usually) hate unemployment challenges

April Unemployment Numbers

Is Unemployment Discrimination Illegal?

Unemployment: The Economists Just Don’t Get It

On Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

August Unemployment Figures

May Unemployment Rate increases to 9.4%

July Unemployment Report

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

August Unemployment Numbers

Unemployment Rate Declines

April Unemployment Data

February Unemployment Data

How to Apply for Maryland Unemployment Insurance

Reducing Unemployment with Work-Sharing

Important Changes to Maryland Unemployment Law

Severance Pay and Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Benefits Recipients Do More, Not less, to Look for Work

Mass Unemployment Is a Failure of Capitalism

Severance Pay and Unemployment Benefits

Help - I was disqualified for unemployment benefits. How do I get re-qualified?

Texas Unemployment Claims Guide

How to Apply for Maryland Unemployment Insurance

Important Changes to Maryland Unemployment Law

UNEMPLOYMENT IS DROPPING IN CALIFORNIA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY

Hallmark Releases Unemployment Cards

Help - I was disqualified for unemployment benefits. How do I get re-qualified?

Doing it Their Way: Government Layoffs Worsening Unemployment

The Toll of Long-term Unemployment

Maryland Unemployment Benefits Extended

Bunning Spikes Unemployment Extension

Unemployment Insurance Contributions to Rise

Maryland Unemployment: Using Best Judgment is Not Misconduct

Texas Unemployment Claims Guide

Unemployment Insurance: Must You Pay for Misconduct?

14 Senators Urge Unemployment Extension

At Least 30 Countries Have Unemployment Benefits More Generous Than The U.S.

New Unemployment Bill to Provide Relief

Texas Unemployment Benefits Cut

In The News: Unemployment Rate Study

New Case on Unemployment Hearing Proof

The Rise in Entrepreneurship Often a Mask for Unemployment

Unemployment: Why Won’t Congress Talk About It!?

Unemployment Compensation: Case Update

Unemployment Rates Continue to Improve

Terminated for Absenteeism? You May Still Be Entitled to Unemployment Benefits

Long-Term Unemployment: A Terrifying Existence

Consult an Attorney if You Have an In-Person Unemployment Hearing

Coronavirus Update 4-6-2020: We CARES about unemployment

Black Unemployment Has Topped 10 Percent For Most Of The Last 50 Years

End of Unemployment Benefits Hitting Workers

Restaurants’ bailout problem: Unemployment pays more

COVID-19 Unemployment Assistance for Independent Contractors

Tell Speaker Boehner to Allow a Vote on Unemployment Insurance

New unemployment claims rose by 1.9 million last week

Unemployment claims jump back over 1 million

Unemployment drops in May to 13.3 percent as states reopen

Important Changes to Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law

Consult an Attorney if You Have an In-Person Unemployment Hearing

Texas Employers Unemployment Rate Headed Up

Unemployment Maximum Benefit will Rise on Monday

Unemployment Rates Affect Veterans Disproportionately

NYT Has 411 on Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Economic Policy and Unemployment: The Power of Stupidity

Feds Deliver Unemployment Funds to Maryland

Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Stalls Yet Again

U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent in August

Senate Votes to Proceed with Unemployment Bill

Maximum Unemployment Benefit Rate Has Risen

House Approves Measure Extending Unemployment Benefits

Involuntary Part-Timers Would Boost the Unemployment Rate

Know Your Rights to Paid Leave and Unemployment During the COVID-19 Crisis

Millions of gig workers are still waiting for unemployment benefits

Long-term Unemployment in African-American Community

COBRA Subsidy, Unemployment Benefits Extended to June

How Long-Term Unemployment Decreases Life Expectancy

Initial Unemployment Claims Rise to 380,000

Is Severance Pay Deducted from Unemployment Benefits in Maryland?

Texas to Begin Drug Testing Applicants for Unemployment

Unemployment Gap Between Rich and Poor at Record Levels in the U.S.

Florida Leads Race to the Bottom on Unemployment Compensation

Unemployment Gap Between Rich and Poor at Record Levels in the U.S.

On the Path to Economic Recovery: Extended Unemployment Benefits

Cameron County had Texas' worst unemployment in March

Unemployment Fraud Rate is Low, Study Finds

Bill Would Prohibit Employment Discrimination Based on Unemployment

Maryland Misclassification Cases Often Start with a Claim for Unemployment

Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Stalls in Senate

Unemployment Benefits Bill Ready for Obama's Signature

Texas Unemployment Law - Staff Leasing Companies

Cameron County had Texas' worst unemployment in March

EEOC Holds Public Hearing on Unemployment Discrimination

A gap in federal unemployment benefits is now unavoidable. Here’s why.

Workers filed 1.5M unemployment claims as infections spike

New unemployment claims fall below 1 million for the first time in five months

Unemployment Extension Bill Clears Senate Hurdle

Florida Unemployment Compensation Law Has Become More “Employer Friendly”

You May Be Entitled to Unemployment If You Quit With Good Cause for Health Reasons.

Bill Would Ban Discrimination Based on Unemployment Status

Global Youth Unemployment Reaches Record Levels

Unemployment situation is improving for some groups and not others, and you’ll never guess who

Two Months of Extended Unemployment Insurance Passes Congress

Rise in Unemployment Negatively Correlated With Support for Unions

More Than a Number: Troubling Trends Behind the Dropping Unemployment Rateo

You May Be Entitled to Unemployment If You Quit With Good Cause for Health Reasons.

Rise in Unemployment Negatively Correlated With Support for Unions

Black workers are hurt most as Congress doesn’t extend unemployment

New York Unemployment Benefits No Longer Available to Former Employees Receiving Severance

Economy Loses 20.5 Million Jobs in April; Unemployment Jumps to 14.7%

Severance Pay can reduce Ohio Unemployment Compensation Benefits

288,000 New Jobs Drop Unemployment Rate to 6.3% in April

Obama Signs Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill into Law

Unemployment claims rise by 2.4 million as states try to open for business

Economy Gains 1.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 10.2%

Labor Department reports 36.5 million unemployment claims over 2 months

Mounting unemployment crisis fuels racial wealth gap

Unemployment claims climbed by 1.5 million last week, despite jobs gains in May

A lack of child care is keeping women on unemployment rolls

Economy Gains 4.8 Million Jobs in June; Unemployment Declines to 11.1%

Unemployment claims near 17 million in three weeks as coronavirus ravages economy

In Record Numbers, Employers Move to Block Unemployment Payouts

Coronavirus layoffs surge across America, overwhelming unemployment offices

New unemployment claims rose last week to 1.4M, ending months of declines

South Florida AFL-CIO Rallies for Unemployment Insurance

Who should have to pay back overpaid Unemployment Benefits in North Carolina?

Department of Labor Tries to Leverage Social Media to Solve Unemployment

African-American Unemployment Rate Was ‘Virtually Unchanged’ In 2011

Compromise Bill Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits Introduced

EDD Will Deny Unemployment Benefits to Claimants Not Authorized to Work in US

New Regulations Offer Higher Likelihood of Representation at Unemployment Hearings

Texas Unemployment Law - How Temporary Work Affects Your Benefits

San Antonio May Unemployment Numbers Send a Mixed Message

Surge in Women’s Employment Brings Unemployment Rate Down to 9.7 Percent

House Passes Jobs Bill Containing COBRA, Unemployment Extensions

House Passes Jobs Bill Containing COBRA, Unemployment Extensions

Are Workers ‘Sacrificial Lambs’ For Indiana’s Unemployment Fund Deficit?

Federal Unemployment Benefits Expire Due To Congressional Inaction

CHART: The Federal Reserve Is Failing Its Obligation To Fight Unemployment

Trade war drives up unemployment in key 2020 battleground states

Economy Gains 266,000 Jobs in November; Unemployment Down Slightly to 3.5%

Why Maryland Employment Lawyers Are Reluctant to Represent Claimants in Unemployment Hearings.

Trump administration wants states to zip their lips about soaring unemployment numbers

‘A meaningful hit to the economy’: What could happen if Congress cuts unemployment benefits

Court Upholds New Jersey’s Ban on Unemployment Discrimination in Job Advertisements

Obama Signs Bill Temporarily Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits

Economy Loses 701,000 Jobs in March; Unemployment Jumps to 4.4%

House Passes Bill Temporarily Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits

Employee Who is Repeatedly Found Sleeping on the Job Entitled to Unemployment Compensation

New Maryland Law Protects Unemployment Benefits for Victims of Domestic Violence

House Passes Defense Bill Containing Arbitration, Unemployment and COBRA Provisions

Congress Moves to Extend Unemployment Insurance to Hard-Hit States

Proposed Senate Bill Would Void Non-Competes For Employees Eligible for Unemployment

What amount of unemployment tax does a Maryland Employer pay for each employee in a year?

Fed’s Powell warns unemployment could reach Depression-level 25 percent

Surprise unemployment drop sparks debate over how fast the economy will rally

Extended Emergency Unemployment Compensation Will Expire for 2.1 Million Recipients on December 29

House Passes Defense Bill Containing Arbitration, Unemployment and COBRA Provisions

Tax breaks for businesses led to state unemployment funds going broke

Unemployment (or prior lawsuits) as a protected class? Not so fast says the 6th Circuit

House Passes Bill Imposing Regulatory Moratorium until Unemployment Drops

Senators Introduce Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill that Would Apply to All 50 States

Court of Appeal: Lying on Timesheets re Break Time is Misconduct: No Unemployment for You

Best Practices for Handling Unemployment Compensation Claims Part 2: The Referee's Hearing

Economy Adds 243,000 Jobs, Unemployment Drops to 8.3 Percent

Texas Workforce Commission Issues 2011 Unemployment Tax Rates

2.1 million new unemployment claims filed last week, as workers still struggle to get benefits

Furloughed Disney Workers “Can’t Wait” For Help, But Florida’s Unemployment System Is Broken

House, Senate Approve Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Insurance Extension

San Antonio Unemployment Rate Drops As Local Businesses Start Hiring Again

Coronavirus Update 4-27-2020: Bringing your employees back to work when unemployment pays them more than you do

Workplace bullying targets winning unemployment benefits appeals in New York State

San Antonio Unemployment Rate Drops As Local Businesses Start Hiring Again

Maine governor faces call for investigation on pressure to deny unemployment benefits

Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Reform Law Expected to Result in Savings for Employers

Big support for $600 unemployment benefit, but people don’t know who to blame for its lapse

Coronavirus Update 7-30-2020: Ohio needs to fix its unemployment system, 𝗻𝗼𝘄

House Passes Bill Extending Emergency Unemployment Benefits, Payroll Tax Reduction

Recent Amendments to Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law Include Severance Pay Offset

Senate Advances Tax Bill Extending Unemployment Benefits, Decreasing Payroll Taxes

Failure to Pay Union Dues is Willful Misconduct under Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law

Two Million Americans Could Lose Unemployment Insurance In December If Congress Fails To Extend Program

Unemployment insurance boost is tiny next to tax cuts for the rich, this week in the war on workers

Company is closing its doors in Maryland. I am being laid off. I will receive a small severance. Can I collect unemployment? - Avvo.com

Studies: Increasing The Minimum Wage During Times Of High Unemployment Doesn’t Hurt Job Growth

Senate Votes to Advance Bill Further Extending COBRA Subsidy and Emergency Unemployment Insurance Programs

Best Practices for Handling Unemployment Compensation Claims Part 3: Appeals, Legal Counsel, & Quarterly Reports

REMINDER: Severance Pay Offset to Unemployment Compensation Benefits Takes Effect January 1, 2012 In Pennsylvania

Draft Senate Jobs Bill Contains Employer Hiring Incentives, COBRA and Unemployment Extensions, Pension Funding Relief

Unemployment Compensation Case Update: Employees Who Accept Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Offers Are Eligible for Benefits

Coronavirus Update 6–22–2020: Ohio ends unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to work (with some key exceptions)

Floridas 2019 Legislative Session Yields Bills Related to Vaping in the Workplace and Unemployment Benefits for Domestic Violence Victims

Labor Secretary Scalia Wrongly Rejects Federal Role in Enforcing Unemployment Rights of Workers Who Refuse Unsafe Work

Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Benefits: Employee Is Disqualified From Benefits Because of Repeated Tardiness

A Decade of High Unemployment & Falling Wages… Or We Could Create Jobs & Help our Cities

Unemployment claims worse than expected as nation hits 14th week with more than 1 million claims

Obama to Sign Tax Bill Temporarily Extending Unemployment Benefits, Payroll Tax Cuts

Best Practices for Handling Unemployment Compensation Claims Part 1: Responding to the Initial UC Claim and Appealing the Initial Determination

Soldiers Fight for America, They Shouldn’t Have to Fight for a Job: The Internet and Tax Incentives Seek to Stem the Tide of Veteran Unemployment

Have an Employment Law question?

Virginia Employment Lawyers

Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
Sheri R. Abrams PLLC
Oakton, VA
Gerald Lutkenhaus Gerald Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers Compensation & Disability Lawyer
Richmond, VA
Edward Lowry Edward Lowry
MichieHamlett
Charlottesville, VA
Matthew Kaplan Matthew Kaplan
The Kaplan Law Firm
ARLINGTON, VA
Matthew Sutter Matthew Sutter
Sutter & Terpak, PLLC
Annandale, VA

more Virginia Employment Lawyers