What is unemployment insurance?

UPDATED: Jul 18, 2023Fact Checked

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UPDATED: Jul 18, 2023

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UPDATED: Jul 18, 2023Fact Checked

Unemployment insurance, also known as unemployment benefits or state unemployment benefits, is a type of temporary insurance coverage that is given to individuals who have lost their jobs. Unemployment is generally required by state laws, and the employers in a state must pay into the unemployment insurance fund based on the size of the company that they operate and the number of employees that they have. These funds, assessed through taxation, are kept and administered by the state Unemployment Compensation Bureau, who will then give out the funds to qualified candidates who have become unemployed.

Understanding Unemployment Insurance

As an employee, you are generally not required to pay for unemployment insurance and your unemployment insurance benefit coverage is will be based on whether you worked enough hours during the quarter prior to losing your job, as well as on the reason why you were terminated. If you are fired for cause or quit, for example, you may not generally get unemployment insurance. If you are laid off or downsized, you will generally be entitled to unemployment insurance benefits.

Unemployment Insurance Benefit Terms

The length of time that unemployment benefits run is mandated by state and Federal law, and was recently changed because of the bad economic situation in America at the beginning of 2011. In most cases, you can receive up to ninety- nine weeks of unemployment. Unemployed workers who wish to receive unemployment insurance benefits must apply for it through their state unemployment agency and must meet certain criteria such as:

  • Deadlines for application.
  • Notification to the state that they are looking for work.
  • The possibility of paying back the benefits if they work under the table while receiving them.

Each state has specific laws about how to get unemployment insurance benefits that must be examined in individual circumstances.

Getting Help

If you have concerns about your right to unemployment insurance benefits, consult with an experienced lawyer for help and advice.

Case Studies: Understanding Unemployment Insurance

Case Study 1: Eligibility and Benefits

In this case study, an individual who was recently laid off from their job applies for unemployment insurance benefits. The case study explains that eligibility for unemployment insurance is determined by state and federal laws, and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify. It emphasizes that being laid off or downsized generally entitles individuals to unemployment insurance benefits. The case study also mentions that the length of time for receiving benefits can vary, with the recent economic situation resulting in extended coverage periods of up to ninety-nine weeks.

Case Study 2: Application Process and Individual Circumstances

This hypothetical case highlights the importance of understanding the specific requirements and processes for applying for unemployment insurance benefits. It mentions that individuals must apply through their state unemployment agency and provides a general overview of the criteria that need to be met. The case study emphasizes that each state has its own laws and procedures, and it encourages individuals to consult with an experienced lawyer for personalized advice based on their individual circumstances.​

Case Study 3: Denied Unemployment Insurance Claim

In this case study, an individual who was terminated from their job applies for unemployment insurance benefits but receives a denial notice. The case study explores the reasons why their claim was denied, such as being fired for cause or voluntarily quitting. It highlights the importance of understanding the eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance and how certain circumstances may impact an individual’s ability to receive benefits. The case study emphasizes the need for individuals in this situation to seek legal advice and assistance to explore their options and appeal the denial if appropriate.

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Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

Mary Martin

Published Legal Expert

Mary Martin has been a legal writer and editor for over 20 years, responsible for ensuring that content is straightforward, correct, and helpful for the consumer. In addition, she worked on writing monthly newsletter columns for media, lawyers, and consumers. Ms. Martin also has experience with internal staff and HR operations. Mary was employed for almost 30 years by the nationwide legal publi...

Published Legal Expert

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

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