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Can You Collect Your Unemployment If You Quit A Job?

Updated : August 4th, 2020

The Department Of Labor provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits if you lose your job through no fault of your own. But the question is, can you collect your unemployment if you quit a job? The answer, Depends. 

If you quit your job voluntarily without good cause, you cannot collect your unemployment benefits. But if you had a good reason as defined by your state, you may qualify for benefits.

 

Good Cause To Quit Your Job

There may be several good reasons for leaving a job. But not all entitle you to qualify for benefits. You have good cause to leave a job if, in the same situation, any ordinary person would have left his/her job. 

Reasons Considered As Good Cause

Some of the good cause include:

1. Medical Reasons

You have a good reason to quit your job when you have a medical condition, and continuing to do that particular job could worsen your condition. To receive unemployment benefits, you must prove that:

  • You had major medical reasons to leave your job
  • Even though you have medical conditions, you are capable and available to take up some job
  • You had notified your employer about your health before quitting and gave them sufficient time to find a replacement

2. Unacceptable Working Conditions

Unacceptable working conditions/environment is a good cause to quit a job. However, simply being unhappy with the working conditions cannot be considered as a good cause. For working conditions to be good cause for leaving your job, you must prove that:

  • Unsafe working conditions 
  • Your employer is not paying you
  • You were tricked about the working conditions
  • You were not aware of the workplace condition when you took up the employment
  • Your employer changed the working conditions without your consent or knowledge
  • Offensive behavior by your supervisor, coworkers, or employers such as discrimination based on gender, age, or race, unfair allegations, or profanity at work

3. Family Problems

Family problems can be considered a good cause for quitting a job, provided you have informed your employer about it and taken the necessary steps to fix it. For example, you have a child and haven’t found a babysitter to give childcare, and hence are required to leave your job to provide care by yourself. 

You may also receive unemployment benefits if your spouse was transferred, and you quit your job to follow your spouse. However, if your spouse voluntarily transferred, you cannot qualify for benefits. 

4. Transportation Problems

Transportation problems can be a good cause to quit a job if you have lost access to your transportation or your employer has relocated the workplace, and you cannot travel to the new location. However, you must take the suitable steps to overcome the problem and keep your employer informed about it. To determine if the transportation problem is a good cause, the state will consider:

  • If the traveling time has been increased
  • If traveling expenses has been increased 
  • Whether your employer is providing you reimbursement for additional expenses
  • Whether you have looked for alternative means of transportation, like public transportation, carpooling, etc. 

Note that some states pay benefits only if one had job-related problems to leave a job, and some others may also consider personal problems as good cause. To determine your state defined good cause, talk to authorities at your state’s unemployment benefits agency. 

What Is Not Counted As A Good Cause?

Some of the reasons that are not considered as good cause for quitting a job include:

  • Took new job without informing an employer in advance
  • Chang career options
  • Get married
  • Attend school
  • Job abandonment
  • Quitting in anticipation of discharge

Unemployment If You Quit Your Job: Should You Present Proof Of A Good Cause?

When you quit your job voluntarily, you will be required by the law to show proof of a good cause to collect unemployment benefits. You should also describe the circumstances that forced you to quit and the measures taken to resolve problems. 

If you quit due to health conditions, then statements from your doctor can help you prove that you were genuinely unwell or had health problems. 

Closing Thoughts

Before quitting, give your best to resolve the issue. However, if you are unable to resolve them and are forced to leave the job, make sure you keep detailed records of emails, or other communication you had with your employer. Remember, the evidence you provide plays a vital role in deciding the approval or rejection of your UI benefits.

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