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 (185)

Texas Unemployment Law - Unemployment Overpayments

Unemployment Is Over 10%

Underfunding Unemployment

Unemployment Down in Maryland, or So it Seems

Retirement and Unemployment

Unemployment Q & A’s

May Unemployment Data

May Unemployment Report

May Unemployment Data

Latest on Unemployment

April Unemployment up to 8.9%

Unemployment Rate Down to 9.7%

February Unemployment Data

August Unemployment Numbers

Maryland Unemployment Overpayments

Unemployment Benefits Extended Again

Unemployment Rates Looking Marginally Better

Is Unemployment Discrimination Illegal?

I (usually) hate unemployment challenges

Lobel on Unemployment Insurance

February Unemployment Data

April Unemployment Numbers

Unemployment Rate Unchanged

Unemployment: The Economists Just Don’t Get It

Unemployment Rate Declines

July Unemployment Data

June Unemployment Figures

May Unemployment Rate increases to 9.4%

August Unemployment Figures

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

June Unemployment Report

When Should Unemployment Benefits End?

April Unemployment Data

September Unemployment Data

June Unemployment Data

Demographic Disparity in Unemployment

November Unemployment Report

July Unemployment Report

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

A Primer on Unemployment Benefits

April Unemployment Data

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

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

How to Apply for Maryland Unemployment Insurance

Severance Pay and Unemployment Benefits

Important Changes to Maryland Unemployment Law

How to Apply for Maryland Unemployment Insurance

Unemployment Insurance Contributions to Rise

Doing it Their Way: Government Layoffs Worsening Unemployment

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

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

The Toll of Long-term Unemployment

Unemployment Compensation: Case Update

Severance Pay and Unemployment Benefits

Reducing Unemployment with Work-Sharing

Hallmark Releases Unemployment Cards

The Rise in Entrepreneurship Often a Mask for Unemployment

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

Unemployment Rates Continue to Improve

Texas Unemployment Claims Guide

Maryland Unemployment Benefits Extended

Texas Unemployment Claims Guide

New Case on Unemployment Hearing Proof

Important Changes to Maryland Unemployment Law

Bunning Spikes Unemployment Extension

In The News: Unemployment Rate Study

Maryland Unemployment: Using Best Judgment is Not Misconduct

Unemployment Insurance: Must You Pay for Misconduct?

UNEMPLOYMENT IS DROPPING IN CALIFORNIA AND AROUND THE COUNTRY

New Unemployment Bill to Provide Relief

Texas Unemployment Benefits Cut

14 Senators Urge Unemployment Extension

NYT Has 411 on Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Stalls Yet Again

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

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

Tell Speaker Boehner to Allow a Vote on Unemployment Insurance

Texas Employers Unemployment Rate Headed Up

Important Changes to Florida's Unemployment Compensation Law

Senate Votes to Proceed with Unemployment Bill

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

Unemployment Maximum Benefit will Rise on Monday

Maximum Unemployment Benefit Rate Has Risen

Long-Term Unemployment: A Terrifying Existence

Unemployment Rates Affect Veterans Disproportionately

End of Unemployment Benefits Hitting Workers

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

Feds Deliver Unemployment Funds to Maryland

Economic Policy and Unemployment: The Power of Stupidity

Initial Unemployment Claims Rise to 380,000

Florida Unemployment Compensation Law Has Become More “Employer Friendly”

Texas to Begin Drug Testing Applicants for Unemployment

Bill Would Prohibit Employment Discrimination Based on Unemployment

Florida Leads Race to the Bottom on Unemployment Compensation

How Long-Term Unemployment Decreases Life Expectancy

Unemployment Fraud Rate is Low, Study Finds

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

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

Two Months of Extended Unemployment Insurance Passes Congress

Maryland Misclassification Cases Often Start with a Claim for Unemployment

Texas Unemployment Law - Staff Leasing Companies

Bill Would Ban Discrimination Based on Unemployment Status

EEOC Holds Public Hearing on Unemployment Discrimination

Unemployment Benefits Extension Bill Stalls in Senate

House Approves Measure Extending Unemployment Benefits

On the Path to Economic Recovery: Extended Unemployment Benefits

Involuntary Part-Timers Would Boost the Unemployment Rate

Global Youth Unemployment Reaches Record Levels

Long-term Unemployment in African-American Community

Unemployment Benefits Bill Ready for Obama's Signature

COBRA Subsidy, Unemployment Benefits Extended to June

Is Severance Pay Deducted from Unemployment Benefits in Maryland?

Unemployment Extension Bill Clears Senate Hurdle

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

Cameron County had Texas' worst unemployment in March

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

Rise in Unemployment Negatively Correlated With Support for Unions

Cameron County had Texas' worst unemployment in March

Rise in Unemployment Negatively Correlated With Support for Unions

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

San Antonio May Unemployment Numbers Send a Mixed Message

Federal Unemployment Benefits Expire Due To Congressional Inaction

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?

Obama Signs Unemployment Insurance Extension Bill into Law

Severance Pay can reduce Ohio Unemployment Compensation Benefits

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

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

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

In Record Numbers, Employers Move to Block Unemployment Payouts

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

Compromise Bill Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits Introduced

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

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

Department of Labor Tries to Leverage Social Media to Solve Unemployment

Texas Unemployment Law - How Temporary Work Affects Your Benefits

New Regulations Offer Higher Likelihood of Representation at Unemployment Hearings

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

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

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

Obama Signs Bill Temporarily Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits

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

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

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

House Passes Defense Bill Containing Arbitration, Unemployment and COBRA Provisions

Texas Workforce Commission Issues 2011 Unemployment Tax Rates

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

House Passes Defense Bill Containing Arbitration, Unemployment and COBRA Provisions

Trade war drives up unemployment in key 2020 battleground states

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

New Maryland Law Protects Unemployment Benefits for Victims of Domestic Violence

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

Tax breaks for businesses led to state unemployment funds going broke

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

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

House Passes Bill Temporarily Extending COBRA, Unemployment Benefits

Congress Moves to Extend Unemployment Insurance to Hard-Hit States

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

House Passes Bill Imposing Regulatory Moratorium until Unemployment Drops

San Antonio Unemployment Rate Drops As Local Businesses Start Hiring Again

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

San Antonio Unemployment Rate Drops As Local Businesses Start Hiring Again

House, Senate Approve Payroll Tax Cut, Unemployment Insurance Extension

Workplace bullying targets winning unemployment benefits appeals in New York State

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

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

Senate Advances Tax Bill Extending Unemployment Benefits, Decreasing Payroll Taxes

Recent Amendments to Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law Include Severance Pay Offset

House Passes Bill Extending Emergency Unemployment Benefits, Payroll Tax Reduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

more Virginia Employment Lawyers