Elyssa Duncan
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Why was I denied unemployment?
Last updated: October 2, 2022
Elyssa Duncan
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Why was I denied unemployment?
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Unfortunately, not everyone who loses their job is eligible for unemployment compensation. First, you need to meet your specific state’s qualifications to collect unemployment benefits, and there are multiple reasons why your unemployment insurance (UI) claim may be denied, causing the disqualification.

What are the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits?

The United States Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program offers unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. The State Unemployment Insurance agency will determine the legitimacy of your reason for unemployment.

Claimants must also meet their state’s specific eligibility requirements, which often include guidelines related to the length of employment, employee classification, earnings, and the circumstances of losing your job.

It’s important to note that some of the eligibility criteria have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, some states temporarily waived the "must be actively looking for work" requirement. This varies from state to state, so it’s essential to check with your state’s UI agency for the specific criteria in your location.

Want more unemployment information? 

Why was I denied unemployment benefits?

As with the eligibility requirements, disqualifications may vary depending on the state, but the following circumstances may disqualify you from receiving unemployment.

  • You had an insufficient length of employment or earnings.
    Unemployment eligibility is based on your earnings over a designated duration of time, often a 12 month period.

  • You were a self-employed, freelance, or contract worker.
    Typically, independent contractors and freelancers cannot receive unemployment benefits because they are technically self-employed. However, during the Coronavirus pandemic, benefits were extended to cover self-employed workers and independent contractors. Find out if you qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

  • You were fired for justifiable reasons.
    If your former employer alleges misconduct, inappropriate, or illegal behavior led you to be fired, you will most likely not receive benefits.

  • Your paperwork was incorrect.
    Providing false or inaccurate information on your filing paperwork is another way you may be disqualified from receiving unemployment.

  • You quit without good cause.
    While “good cause” varies from state to state, you must be able to prove that you had a “compelling and necessitous” reason to quit and you tried to resolve the issue by other means before leaving. In most cases, if you voluntarily quit, you will not be eligible for benefits, but it is up to your state’s unemployment office to decide. Some examples of good cause include:

    • Medical reasons
    • Unacceptable work conditions
    • Leaving for other employment
    • Abusive environment

I’ve been denied unemployment, now what?

If you filed an unemployment benefits claim that has been turned down or contested by your employer, you have the right to appeal the decision. While it may seem a bit daunting, appeals are common. Millions of people file for unemployment each year and processing mistakes do happen, so you should not shy away from filing an appeal if needed.

When it comes time to appeal, check with your state department of labor for the guidelines specific to your area. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you are planning to file an appeal.

  • You may have limited time to appeal your denial, so begin your process as soon as possible. Some states require appeals to be filed within 10 days.
  • You may be able to file your appeal online, by fax, mail, in-person, or on the phone.
  • If you are contesting a reason for termination, be prepared with two copies of any documentation (medical records, timesheets, signed warnings, etc.) that supports your position that the termination was unjust.
  • You may hire legal or professional representation to bring with you to the hearing. However, this can be an expensive out-of-pocket expense, so consider this option carefully.
Learn more 

Are you currently looking for work? If so, head to our Getting Hired Resource Center to get started!

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Elyssa Duncan
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Meisa Coplin

My husband had surgery in January 2021. He missed almost all of December 2020 because the doctor did not want him working before the surgery to not injury it any further than it was already. His surgery was January 21st. His physical therapy started 2 weeks after his surgery. He was not allowed to move it (rotator cuff and detached bicep tendon reconnected) until that time. His employer started his limited disability pay in January and ended it when they fired him for non attendance on March 23rd. He was told to go back to work 8 weeks after surgery or 6 weeks after physical therapy started. Doctor told them he has no range of motion and no lifting strength period. Still said come to work or lose your job and insurance. He went to work manually putting labels on packages for 8 straight hours and couldn't move his arm for 3 days. Went back after the three days for 5 hours and left early due to pain. They fired him 5 days later. Tried to get unemployment or disability said he wasn't eligible but also said I made too much at $34,100 annually to qualify for assistance thru the state for 4 people living in the house. ??? This is the only time we have ever even asked for assistance and nothing.

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Armando Lockward

Hola

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Germaine White

I was a Home care worker, when the pandemic happen, I left my clients home sick, I called my doctor and gave her my symptoms, she told me to stay home, and quarantined , and to only go to the hospital if my temperature went to 103 or more or if I couldn't breath, I let my job know and ask for sick time but because I was part-time I couldn't get it, i didn't go back to my job because people were dying and where I worked was a Senior building and people were dying. I did not fully recover until 3 to 4 months later. My Job let me go 2 mo's later. I filed for unemployment and received it, now this year in April/21 they sent a letter stating I was not eligible, they cut me off and say I have to pay back the money.

1y
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Doris Martin

I quit my job in aug 2020 I didn’t think I was eligible when a friend said I should try. I filed 10/04/20 and they approved my claim. I told them I quit my job because I no longer felt safe we had a shooting at my work location. I received $$$ until last week now they want me to pay back 8 months of unemployment 22,000 I can’t sleep I can’t find a job! I am a mess!!!!

1y
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JULIO TEHEDA

corrcction my last name is Tejeda

1y
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JULIO TEHEDA

in any case the denial reasons applied to me, I worked at the same place since 2014, last year I worked most of the year with the exptions of April becouse the company shut down , and november becouse Covid 19 , contagious out of that I worked my regular schdule all the time, the company answered all that questions regarding my out of work times , I don"t know why they declared my inegebility to get unemployment benefic Thans julio Tejeda

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Zoila Angel

I have been unemployed since October and they suspended my payments in February along with the cold crises in Texas, without electricity and I went to my son's house because my husband died, two brothers fell into depression I kept reporting my hours and nothing got me I'm unemployed , with debts if I pay from IRS, WAITING FOR A CLAIM FROM THE PLUSH THAT IN JANUARY SAYS THAT I QUALIFIED FOR MORE MONEY TODAY I AM RECOVERING FROM THE VACCINES AND WITH PURPLE IN ALL MY ARMS, WITHOUT JOB OR HEALTH INSURANCE AND ALONE WITH ALL THIS PROBLEM

1y
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2
Mitchell Gross

You paid into it! Unless it was for cause due to dishonesty or theft or profanity or harassment you should be eligible. Period!

1y
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2
Murray McNear

Hi I was getting unemployment and they stopped it around ending October Beginning November. I’ve called I’ve got an answer the times I called however they say they wasn’t able to give me any information I have to wait for someone to email me or contact me. When I go up there and try to fail it don’t let me through however I have money when I check my status it’s just sitting there I am so confused I’m a single father of a little girl that’s 12 and I’m barely Making ends meet.I will appreciate if someone can guide me in the right direction or help me with my situation

1y
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MARTY JESSOS

Curious ... I was getting unemployment In The state of Washington and then I went and got my real estate license then I reported it to the Unemployment office and they cancelled my benefits ...

1y
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