Who Qualifies for Unemployment Benefits?

Find out if you qualify for unemployment benefits in State and where to go to learn more.
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Updated: 2020-08-03
Are Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits Available?
How Are Benefits Calculated?

Under normal circumstances, you qualify for unemployment benefits if you:

  • lost your job through no fault of your own
  • worked during the "base period" required by your state's unemployment law before you lost your job
  • earned enough in the base period to qualify for benefits, and
  • worked for an employer required to pay into your state's unemployment trust fund (most employers have to pay into the fund with only a few exceptions). 

You may qualify for unemployment benefits even if you quit your last job, as long as you quit for a reason that is recognized as good cause to quit by your state's unemployment agency.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have expanded their unemployment insurance programs to provide benefits to people affected by the outbreak. If your state has changed its rules in this way, you may be eligible for state benefits if you are out of work for reasons related to the coronavirus. The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provided benefits for people who were themselves affected or whose family members were affected by COVID-19, ended as of September 6, 2021. 

Learn more about unemployment eligibility requirements.

Jurisdictional relevance:

There are versions of this article for each State.

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