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Top 5 Eligibility Myths for Unemployment Benefits – Debunked

Updated : March 24th, 2023

Unemployment insurance in the US provides temporary unemployment compensation to jobless citizens who are out of work, owing to layoffs. The weekly monetary benefit may not really compensate the job loss, but helps in managing basic household expenses while the claimant is looking for job opportunities. You can be eligible to receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits which is a chunk of your previously earned income.

There are many myths associated with claiming unemployment benefits. Let’s unmask the most common myths surrounding eligibility and tell you why they are not.

unemployment myth

1) Seasonal & Contract Workers Are Not Eligible

Seasonal workers are those who are employed during a particular season and remain jobless in the offseason. Generally, no remuneration is provided to such workers during the offseason. Therefore, it becomes difficult for seasonal workers to manage finances during this time.

There is a sense of chaos amongst seasonal workers and the submission is, seasonal workers, do not qualify due to their obvious nature of the job. In reality, some states do provide unemployment compensation during an off period. If your employer declares himself as a seasonal employer and pays unemployment taxes into the system, you can be eligible to claim the dole (unemployment benefits).

Workers contracted for a specific period or from a third party agency are mostly eligible. Your employer is obligated to pay unemployment taxes to the state. Independent contractors are largely not eligible to claim unemployment as their monetary benefits from the company are limited.  Contact your employer to get further details surrounding this.

2) Social Security Beneficiaries Cannot Apply For Unemployment

Probably, the most commonly misunderstood aspect of applying for unemployment. Typically, almost all the states in the country do not consider social security benefits and therefore you will still qualify for UI if you lost the job due to no fault of yours. You must be willing to work further and actively look for jobs. If you’re in such a situation, please check with your state before filing as a few of them do consider social security.

3) Part-Time Workers Do Not Qualify

They do. Unless you’ve voluntarily chosen to be a part-time worker. There are millions of workers whose working hours are reduced intermittently, directly impacting the wages earned. There are cases where an employee is laid off on temp basis due to lack of work for an indefinite period without compensation. In both cases, you can claim monetary compensation for the minimum prescribed hours not worked in a week. Workers on full-time rolls, currently working part-time due to deliberation from the employer, can claim weekly unemployment until the time they are working fewer hours.

Remember, if you’re a designated part-time worker, you may not be qualified to receive UI benefits.

4) I Was Fired. I Do Qualify for Unemployment Benefits?

A worker whose employment is terminated due to grave issues such as performance, misconduct and other deliberate reasons do not qualify. This condition is one of the basic foundations of eligibility criteria.

There are many exceptions to this condition. Let’s say you wrongfully fired due to a grudge of the management or you quit, unable to bear the harassment from your supervisor. In both these cases, you can apply and claims benefits, provided you’re able to prove otherwise in case of a dispute.

If you feel, unemployment was wrongly denied, you always have an option to appeal by means of the adjudication process, which calls for a review.

5) If I Go to School, I Will Not Be Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

Well, not in all cases. Let’s say you lost the job and decide to go to school full time to study further or acquire a degree. Primarily, you will not be eligible as you’re unable to work during this time. However, there are exclusions. The labor dept in your state can extend compensation for a certain category of courses, like the ones that are vocational and skill-based. If it was recognized or sponsored by the DOL, you can get unemployment compensation.

Read more on how schooling affects unemployment benefits. is a leading unemployment compensation advisory site which provides merited resources that not only educates you but also equips you with confidence to apply for and manage unemployment compensation claims.

There are many such myths that have no merit. You must not panic or conclude. Always get an expert opinion or check with the labor authorities in your state.

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