Qualifying for unemployment insurance is easier than you think

Personal Finance

Many people believe that if their boss wasn’t happy with them when they stopped working, they won’t qualify for benefits, said George Wentworth, senior counsel at the National Employment Law Project.

“The culture of the workplace is in many ways deferential to employer decisions,” he said.

Workers generally can’t be disqualified for benefits due to unsatisfactory job performance though. If you were fired because you couldn’t produce 100 widgets an hour, for example, you should still file, Wentworth said.

To deny you benefits, the employer generally will have to prove that you are guilty of misconduct (yelling at a subordinate, for example) or gross negligence (say, repeated absences). Even these instances may not disqualify you, however, Wentworth said.

For example, say your employer had a rule that if you’re absent more than X days, you’ll be let go. If you hit that number of days but can prove that you were legitimately sick on each of those occasions, you may still qualify for the insurance, he said.

Expect to document and show a credible account of what happened, Wentworth said, “the way an employer might document the events from their perspective.”

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