Table of Contents
What Is Unemployment Insurance?
Before we move on to how senior citizens can be eligible for unemployment and the application process, you need to understand unemployment insurance or unemployment benefits. The term itself suggests an idea of its meaning.
Nevertheless, to put it simply, unemployment insurance is financial help given by the government if an individual has lost their job due. To claim unemployment insurance, the decisions of the individual mustn't influence the circumstances, and they should have had no control over why they lost their job.
The worker might have lost their job due to economic setbacks, financial restraints, the company closing down, or any other reason that is not the laid-off individual's fault. However, whether you can apply for unemployment insurance depends on the state you live in.
Different states have varying conditions for providing unemployment insurance. In some states, you might be rejected altogether if you are not at fault for losing your job, but some other factor keeps you from being eligible for unemployment.
In others, you can receive unemployment if you have not lost a job but are getting reduced pay due to reduced working hours.
How Unemployment Insurance Works
As mentioned earlier, unemployment insurance regulations differ according to the state. The amount you receive in a certain state might differ from another state. However, the general rule of allotting you a certain amount is to look at your average earning over a specific period.
Moreover, you must also have done some work in the past few years.
What Is the Eligibility Criteria for Unemployment Insurance?
Again, the eligibility criteria depends on the state you live in. You should check local laws to determine the requirements you need to meet for unemployment insurance. However, certain universal laws apply to be eligible for unemployment insurance. These include:
- You should be a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident (Green card holder).
- The state you apply for unemployment insurance in should be the state you reside in.
- Your work history should match the state requirements for the nature and minimum work hours on the job. The required time can be identified by the number of work hours or the years you were on the job that met the state’s unemployment insurance requirements.
- The reason for unemployment shouldn’t be your fault. As mentioned above, it can be due to economic recession, the company’s financial restraints, etc. You can also collect unemployment if your employer has reduced your pay or working hours. However, you must be available and willing to work and show that you are not misusing the unemployment benefits program.
Can You Collect Unemployment If You Get Social Security?
A common concern among senior citizens looking to apply for unemployment benefits is whether they will continue to receive social security benefits. To your relief, yes, you can receive both social security and unemployment benefits simultaneously.
Previously, there wasn't much in the way of working after the retirement age. However, today's economy demands that citizens work after 62 years of age. While doing so, they are equally entitled to the unemployment benefits if they lose their job as people below that age bracket are.
On the other hand, you might receive a reduced amount for unemployment, but that depends on how much you are receiving for the social security benefits and your residency state.
In comparison, the amount of social security benefits you receive is not affected by the unemployment benefits. Still, the total amount depends on whether you receive any income apart from these benefits.
Because these financial support programs are not considered income, they are unlikely to affect each other's amount.
Applying for Unemployment
Like the eligibility criteria, every state runs its own application process for unemployment benefits. However, all states follow some basic guidelines established by federal law.
Depending on the state, you can apply for unemployment in person, by phone, or online. You can apply for unemployment as soon as you have lost your job so that you may not face a period of difficulty.
Generally, you must file for unemployment with the state’s unemployment insurance program where you worked.
Suppose you are applying in a state where you live now but have never worked in. In that case, that state’s unemployment insurance program facilitators will guide you on applying for unemployment in the state you worked in while living in another state.
When applying for unemployment insurance, you will need to provide information regarding your previous job. These details generally include the company’s address, your pay, period of your employment, etc.
It’s important to give complete and accurate details to process the application quickly. If you have missed out or provided incorrect information, you might be called for adjustments, or the application can be rejected altogether. You will have to wait for more to receive unemployment insurance in both cases.
What Factors Disqualify You From Receiving Unemployment Benefits?
You can apply for unemployment insurance, but it’s highly unlikely to qualify for it if you have any of these reasons for being unemployed in the first place:
You will not qualify for unemployment benefits if you were fired from your job due to misconduct at work. This can include theft, violence, embezzlement, or any criminal activity.
In comparison, smaller transgressions, such as carelessness, causing tremendous loss to the company, can also disqualify you from unemployment benefits.
Unlawful Activities Outside of Work
Most states have laws governing that any misconduct outside of the workplace can lead to job termination. However, some states also have laws governing certain misconduct outside of work that disqualifies individuals from unemployment benefits.
These misconducts can include unlawful activities that harm the company’s image, violate state laws, criminal activities, or behavior with other citizens deemed unlawful.
Turning Down a Suitable Job
This measure of this factor varies highly from state to state. However, suppose you have turned down a job that is suitable to your qualifications and matches the pay of your previous job to a certain amount. In that case, you will be disqualified from unemployment benefits.
Depending on the state, they will consider the position offered and salary against your background and skills to determine whether turning down the job is acceptable.
Other factors that can disqualify you from receiving unemployment insurance include:
- Not Willing to Work
- Receiving Severance Pay
- Failing a drug test
- Working freelance