UNEMPLOYMENT LAW: How to Apply Benefit Amounts Unemployment Office

Louisiana Unemploy­ment Law

Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70801

What You Need to Know About Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana

This site provides clear, accurate information on collecting unemployment benefits in Louisiana, including:



Here are three key things to keep in mind as you get started:

1. You can apply for benefits -- and find helpful resources -- at the Louisiana Workforce Commission website.

Before you file for unemployment, you may want to learn more by reading our articles on benefit amounts, who qualifies for benefits, and so on. Once you're ready to file, you can do it online. And, you can find detailed information and resources at the Louisiana Workforce Commission website, including:


2. Eligibility rules, benefit amounts, and duration differ from state to state.

Unemployment insurance works pretty much the same everywhere: Employers pay into a fund or purchase insurance, then former employees receive benefits when they lose their jobs. But the rules about who qualifies for unemployment, how long unemployment lasts, and especially how much you will receive in benefits vary a lot from state to state. 

Our site covers every state and the District of Columbia; this page gives you information specific to Louisiana. 

3. You may be eligible for benefits even if you quit, you were fired for cause, or you are still working part-time.

Some people mistakenly believe that unemployment is available only to employees who are laid off. However, you don't have to lose your job in a layoff to qualify for benefits. The key question is whether you are out of work without fault on your part. So, if you were forced to quit your job in lieu of being fired, or you were fired because you don't have the necessary skills for your job, you could still be eligible for benefits. 




How Do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

If you recently lost your job, you might qualify for unemployment benefits: money paid by Louisiana’s unemployment insurance fund to those who are temporarily out of work, through no fault of their own. To receive benefits, you must file an application with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. The Louisiana Workforce Commission will determine whether you qualify for benefits and, if so, how much you will receive each week.

Are You Eligible for Benefits? To qualify for benefits, you must have earned a certain amount before losing your job, and you must be out of work for reasons that qualify under Louisiana’s rules. Learn more about Louisiana’s eligibility requirements

Information You’ll Need to File Your Application

Before you apply, you should review the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s materials on unemployment. You’ll find helpful information and resources at the Louisiana Workforce Commission website. Also, check out the Unemployment Benefits Rights and Responsibilities (Benefits Rights Information), which provides detailed, step-by-step instructions on eligibility, filing for benefits, and claiming your benefits.


Am I Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Louisiana, you must meet two basic requirements:

  • you must have earned at least a minimum amount (and/or worked a certain amount of time) before you lost your job, and
  • you must be out of work through no fault of your own.

If you meet these two qualifications when you apply, you will likely be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. (To keep receiving benefits after you are found eligible, you will also have to meet your state’s job search requirements; to learn more, see What Do I Have to Do to Keep Receiving Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?)

Gig workers, freelancers, and contractors are no longer eligible for benefits. In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress greatly expanded eligibility for unemployment. Among other things, these programs provided benefits to gig workers and other contract workers who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits. However, these programs expired in every state on September 6, 2021; about half the states cut off these benefits even earlier. 


Current Minimum and Maximum Benefit Amounts in Louisiana

In Louisiana, the minimum benefit is $10 per week, and the maximum benefit is $247 per week.

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Have Expired

Although additional money -- $300 extra per week -- was available under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, that program expired on September 6, 2021. For weeks of unemployment starting on September 6 or later, these extra benefits will no longer be paid. 

A different federal program -- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance -- made benefits available temporarily to workers who were not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits, including freelancers, gig workers, and other contractors. That program also expired on September 6, 2021. 

How Louisiana Determines Benefit Amounts

Each state determines how much it will pay in unemployment benefits. Generally, the weekly benefit amount is some fraction or percentage of your earnings in the base period or your highest paid quarter of the base period.

In Louisiana, your weekly benefit amount will be one twenty-fifth of your average quarterly wages during the base period, multiplied by 1.05, and multiplied again by 1.15. 

To make sure these amounts are still current when you apply for benefits, contact the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

How Much Will I Collect in Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, you can earn up to $247 per week in unemployment benefits under state law. 

Although additional money ($300 extra per week) was available under the temporary Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, that program expired on September 6, 2021 (or earlier, in states that cut off these benefits before the program ended). For weeks of unemployment starting on September 6, you will not receive these additional benefits. 

Every state has its own rules for calculating unemployment benefits. Typically, the amount you receive each week is based on your earnings when you were employed. After all, unemployment benefits are intended to replace some of the income you lost along with your job, and tide you over until you find new work.

Calculating Your Benefit Amount

Your weekly unemployment benefit amount depends on your earnings during the base period.


How Long Will My Unemployment Benefits Last in Louisiana?

In Louisiana, you can receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks under state law. 

A temporary federal program (the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program) allowed claimants to keep collecting benefits after their state benefits ran out. However, that program expired on September 6, 2021 (or earlier, in states that decided to cut these benefits off before the program ended). 

In times of high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available under a different federal program, the Extended Benefits program (see below).

Each state sets its own rules for how long unemployment benefits last. Until quite recently, virtually all states offered a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits. In the last five or six years, however, some states have changed their rules on duration of benefits (in most cases, to offer benefits for a shorter period of time).


What Do I Have to Do to Keep Receiving Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

After your application for unemployment insurance benefits is approved by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, you can start to actually collect your benefits. But you can’t just sit back and wait for the money to hit your bank account: You must meet certain continuing eligibility requirements to qualify for benefits every week. After your initial claim for unemployment benefits is approved in Louisiana, you will receive benefits only if you:

  • are unemployed or underemployed (generally, earning no more than roughly what you receive in weekly benefits)
  • are able and available to work
  • are actively looking for work, and
  • file to continue to receive benefits.


Can I Collect Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana If I Was Wrongfully Terminated?

In order to collect unemployment, you must meet two basic requirements. First, you must have earned at least a minimum amount, set by state law, in the time before you lost your job. Second, you must be out of work through no fault of your own. (For more information on each of these requirements, see Who is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?)

If you lose your job in a layoff, reduction-in-force (RIF), or downsizing, you will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. But what if you are fired? And, what if you are wrongfully terminated -- that is, fired for illegal reasons?  

If You Were Fired 

In some situations, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits in Louisiana even if you are fired from your job. For example, if you were fired because you were just a poor fit, you may still be eligible for benefits. 

You may not be eligible for benefits in Louisiana if you were fired for misconduct connected with your job. 


Can I Appeal a Denial of Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

If the Louisiana Workforce Commission denies your claim for unemployment insurance benefits, you can challenge that decision by filing an appeal. If you win your appeal, you will be eligible for retroactive benefits, back to the date when your claim should have been granted. (To get retroactive benefits, you must keep filing weekly claims while your appeal is pending, as explained below.)

After you file your initial claim for unemployment benefits, the Louisiana Workforce Commission will send you a written determination of your eligibility for benefits and, if it finds you eligible, how much you will receive each week. If the Louisiana Workforce Commission finds that you are not eligible for benefits, you can appeal that decision. And, if the Louisiana Workforce Commission finds you eligible to receive benefits, your former employer can appeal that decision.


Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits No Longer Available

During the COVID-19 pandemic, job losses skyrocketed, and the unemployment rate reached double digits. Congress responded by creating several temporary unemployment benefit programs. Many employees were eligible for unemployment because they lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and the steps state and local governments took to contain it. Millions more received temporary federal benefits under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program because they were still unemployed when their state benefits ran out. And, many gig workers, contractors, and self-employed people were temporarily eligible for  unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 

Expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Programs 

However, these federal programs ended on September 6, 2021. In some states, they ended even earlier: About half the states decided to stop participating in these programs before they expired.

Since September 6, 2021, these benefits have no longer been available. That means:

  • Benefits are no longer available to the millions of gig workers, contractors, and freelancers who were receiving unemployment through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 
  • Benefits are no longer available through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which offered additional benefits to those who were still unemployed when they used up their state benefits. 
  • Benefits have been reduced for those who were receiving Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, a program that offered $300 extra per week to those collecting unemployment. 

All told, experts estimate that more than seven million people lost their benefits on Labor Day, 2021. More than two million more saw their benefits cut by $300 per week. 


How Can I Find an Unemployment Lawyer in Louisiana?

There are several ways to find a good lawyer to help with your unemployment claim in Louisiana.

Personal Recommendations

The best way to find a lawyer is always through a referral from someone you know. Ask family members, friends, and professional contacts whether they can recommend a good employment lawyer. 

Lawyers specialize, so your friend’s divorce lawyer won’t be the right person to handle your unemployment case. However, lawyers also know other lawyers, so don’t hesitate to ask a recommended lawyer in a different field for an employment lawyer referral. 

If you can’t find a lawyer through personal recommendations, here are a few other options.

Lawyer Directories

A number of websites offer lawyer directories: lists of lawyers that specialize in a particular field. Keep in mind, though, that these lawyers likely have not been screened for their experience or expertise; it’s up to you to make sure that the attorney you talk to has the right qualifications for your case. Here are a few options:   

Bar Association Directories

You can find lawyers that specialize in employment law through the Louisiana Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service. Although the lawyers listed are in good standing (that is, they haven’t been suspended or disbarred), they may not have been screened for experience, quality, or expertise. You will need to determine whether a particular attorney has the qualifications and experience required to handle your case.  

Legal Aid Services

You may qualify for free legal help, if your income is low enough. Every state has legal aid offices that provide legal assistance to people who meet their income guidelines. Check with LouisianaLawHelp.org to learn more.

Many law schools have clinical programs that offer free legal help from law students who are learning the ropes, supervised by professors or practicing attorneys. Find a law school near you on this list from the American Bar Association, then select it to learn more about its legal clinics.

Nolo/Martindale Attorney Network

LegalConsumer.com is an affiliate of the Martindale/Nolo attorney network and can connect you with attorneys in your area who handle unemployment appeals. 

Get a Free Evaluation of your Unemployment Claim by a Local Lawyer
Use the form below to connect with attorneys in the Nolo/Martindale Attorney network serving Louisiana and your county.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

If you have a straightforward unemployment claim, you will likely be able to file for unemployment benefits on your own, without any help from a lawyer. Your claim is relatively simple if you can easily meet the Louisiana earnings requirements to qualify for benefits, and you and your employer agree that you lost your job through no fault of your own (for example, because you were laid off or had to quit when your military spouse was transferred to another state).

But if your case is more complicated, it might make sense to consult with or hire an unemployment lawyer to represent you. An unemployment lawyer can help you if you are facing any of the situations described below. more...  

Paying an Unemployment Lawyer in Louisiana

If you may be (or already have been) denied unemployment benefits in Louisiana, you may be wondering whether you need a lawyer -- and whether you can afford to hire a lawyer to help with your unemployment case. It all depends on your financial situation and how (and how much) the attorney charges. Although unemployment attorneys often charge by the hour, an unemployment attorney may be willing to offer you a contingency fee arrangement in some situations. This means the lawyer gets paid only if you win, out of the money you receive as a settlement or award. 

Below, we explain some typical attorney fee arrangements in unemployment cases. 

Initial Consultation

Your first step in choosing an attorney – and deciding whether it makes sense to fight your employer in an unemployment claim, appeal, or lawsuit – is an initial consultation. The initial consultation provides you and the attorney an opportunity to decide whether and how you will work together. more...  

About Unemployment Benefits By Zip Code

Here at Legal Consumer, we want to help people find answers to everyday legal questions about important topics like bankruptcy, Obamacare, inheritance, and more. 

Now, we’ve turned our attention to employment law. Because, while almost everyone has (or has had) a job, it can be surprisingly tough to get good, high-quality local information about workplace rights. 

We'll be adding new topics over time, but we’ve started with unemployment benefits. If you’ve recently lost your job, unemployment benefits can be a real lifesaver. They replace some of your income, temporarily, while you look for a new job. But not everyone qualifies for benefits, and the amount and duration of benefits can vary a lot from state to state.