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Factors That Can Disqualify You From Unemployment Benefits

Factors That Can Disqualify You From Unemployment Benefits

There are various rules for unemployment benefits which vary from state to state. As a result, something that will disqualify you in one state might not work in another. This makes it essential to know the rules of your state.

In addition to the above, here are various things that might disqualify one from unemployment benefits:

  1. Work-Related Misconduct 

The concept of misconduct varies from state to state alongside its effect on your benefit. Embezzlement, theft, violence and other criminal misconduct will surely disqualify you. Things like absenteeism, insubordination and carelessness might also be classified as misconduct, depending on the circumstance. 

For some states, such misconduct needs to be severe before you will be disqualified, while minor in another. 

  1. Misconduct off Work

There are laws against termination for legal misconduct off work, while others like Florida allow an employer to terminate workers for external misconduct and disqualify one for unemployment benefit. 

Any misconduct off work that might disqualify you need to be a criminal offence, violation of company behavior standard, or doing anything against the company's interest. 

  1. Refusing a Sustainable Job

Refusing a job that corresponds to the one you lost will disqualify you from any benefit. A manager, for instance, offered a call centre job can turn it down. You might risk-benefit if you refuse a position that the state unemployment office classifies as suitable.

Officials typically consider factors like pay, training, safety, etc., to determine what is suitable.

  1. Not Passing a Drug test.

Almost every state classifies failure of a drug test as misconduct tantamount to disqualification. As a result, someone receiving unemployment benefits who lost a new job due to failure of a drug test might be disqualified.

  1. Failure to Look for Work

States typically require people to report that they have made some specific number of applications per week. Not reporting such info on time or failure to look for work might make you lose benefits.

  1. Inability to Work

Temporal disability, being out of town, being on maternity leave, etc., and whatever makes you unable to work, whether temporarily or permanently, might disqualify one from unemployment benefits. 

One might not be disqualified for quitting due to medical reasons in some states or to care for a sick family member. 

  1. Collecting Severance Pay

You will not get unemployment benefits in some states if you are getting severance pay. As a result, someone getting ten weeks of severance will have his unemployment benefit start on the 11th week after losing such a job. 

Also, one might need to report such payments as wages. However, it is essential to understand the impact of severance on unemployment benefits in your state. 

  1. Getting freelance Gigs

Most US states will disqualify you entirely or partially if you work and receive income, even as a freelancer.  

  1. Any act of Fraud

If you neither report income or any new job you got, you will be disqualified from the benefit. Also, you will be mandated to repay all benefits or face jail time. The stakes are pretty high, and such info can easily be available to the government, so it is not worth risking. 


Firms are always looking for reasons to disqualify employees. While working below standard might not disqualify you before, some states disqualify workers for unsatisfactory work, which does not align with the employer's interest. 

Ensure you apply for unemployment immediately you lose your job. Deciding who qualifies and denying benefits is not your employer's call. Your state's unemployment office decides that. Your employer must have been paying unemployment benefits for you, so you own the funds. 

Should the state also deny you, you can appeal and make your case.