Eligibility requirements vary from state to state. In general, you must meet standards for amount of money earned or time worked during a set period of time called a base period. Typically, the base period consists of the first four of the previous five calendar quarters.

It must be determined that you are unemployed through no fault of your own, as outlined in State law. You must also:

  • Be able to work – You are capable of working every day during the week in which you file for unemployment benefits. You cannot collect benefits if you are sick, injured or disabled.
  • Be available to work – You are ready to start a job immediately and do not have any obstacles to accepting work, such as transportation or childcare issues.
  • Be actively seeking work – You are searching for work and following the guidelines set by your State in trying to find a job.

In order to stay eligible for benefits, you must continue to meet the necessary requirements from your initial claim. In addition, you must report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims Office or Employment Service Office when requested, and you must not refuse any offer of suitable work.

You may be disqualified from receiving benefits (completely or for a set period of time) if any of the following conditions are true:

  • You voluntarily quit your job without good cause (as defined by your State), or if you voluntarily chose to retire.
  • You were fired from your job for misconduct.
  • Your unemployment is due to a labor dispute.
  • You refuse to find suitable work.

Your State may disqualify you from receiving benefits for other reasons. Disqualifications can be appealed.

Self-employed individuals are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits, but check with your State for more information.