FileUnemployment

Effect of Severance Pay On Unemployment Compensation

Updated : June 11th, 2019

In the United States of America, a social assistance program jointly run by the federal government along with the states offers weekly monetary compensation to citizens who go jobless due to no fault of their own. Commonly known as the Unemployment Compensation (U.C) benefits program, a jobless worker can look forward to up to 26 weeks of even benefits on the basis of eligibility, claiming state and other factors.

As a leading info website with years of expertise in the field of Unemployment Compensation, one of the most common questions we receive relates to the implication of severance pay on receipt of Unemployment Insurance from the state. This article is aimed at helping you in clearing the air with regard to drawing separation pay from your employer and claiming UC benefits on the sidelines.

What is Severance Pay?

It is a monetary payment made by the employer to the employee just before separation from the job. The compensation generally consists of a couple of months’ of the last drawn gross pay of the employee and is paid either as a lump sum or at regular intervals as agreed between the worker and the employer in the contract. Also known as “Thank you” payment, this compensation is a goodwill gesture for the services rendered by the worker and comes with clauses attached.

Severance pay as a lump sum
Severance payout is mostly lump sum

It is a part of a separation agreement between the two parties (employer and the employee) where the payment ranges between a few months’ which can go up to a year, depending on the circumstances for drawing the contract.

Am I Eligible to Apply for Unemployment While Drawing Severance Pay?

A simple answer is “Yes”, but with conditions. There are both direct and indirect implications of receiving separation pay and applying for UC benefits simultaneously. The basic premise for offering state-sponsored jobless benefits to such claimants are as below.

  • The claimant should have lost the job due to no fault of their own such as being laid off.
  • He/she should not be on the payroll of the company.
  • Should be “able and available” for work. The jobless worker should actively be looking for employment and should fulfill the conditions set by the Unemployment Office in this regard.

For those of you who received a lump sum separation pay, you can go ahead and apply for the UI benefits straightaway. Since you’re receiving a one-time payment from the employer, declare the amount during application to determine monetary eligibility. For some of the workers who receive severance, the payment is made at periodic intervals, let’s say every month for a specific duration.

In such cases, you will qualify to apply for compensation only after expiry of this period since you’re treated as being on the rolls of the company. Another reason why an aspirant’s claim may be rejected is due to specific clauses mentioned in the separation agreement which bars him/her from claiming. If the contract states that the employee left voluntarily or will not claim UC from the state, such applications will not be entertained.

Guidelines to Apply for UC Benefits While Drawing Severance Pay

Read the separation agreement

When you’re offered severance, do not jump into signing the contract. Get a copy and read the clauses thoroughly. If you see a specific clause(s) which prevents you from drawing UC or hampers your future employment prospects, raise a flag.

Wait for the severance to be paid out

As stated in the section above, you may not be eligible to apply for the state-provided benefits until the expiry of the severance payout. Therefore, keep a note of the last date of payment (if not a lump sum) and apply towards the end of it.

Understand the law/regulations

Since Unemployment Compensation is administered by each state separately with its own legal framework, it’s paramount to understand how your state treats severance pay. Therefore, make sure to place a phone call, read online or visit the nearest Unemployment Office to make sure your application complies with the rules. Some states have elaborate terms and conditions to fulfill when it comes to separation compensation provided by the employer.

Now that you have a clearer picture of the prerequisites, make sure to keep them in mind to make a successful application minus hassles. Happy Claiming!

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  1. I work for a church pre school program and I have lost my job due to coronavirus. When I applied for unemployment in Texas it says that two does not except this employer as my last employer. I’ve been working there for 13 years. What do I do?

  2. Chad ….. how do I get thru when it wont accept my ID or my password. I change it 5 times and it still wont work. Calling is not working at any time when I spend and whole day calling back to back to get thru. why don’t they just help or force the employers ( company) to place they claims in for their workers like GM did……I NEED HELP…PLEASE.

    1. Chad,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  3. i live in ga…all the day cares have shut down my wife and i have full time jobs,,,but i have to leave my company which i have been there for over two years,to take care of our child….can i still collect unemployment…this covid virus is why i have to leave my job…

    1. Gary,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  4. are you kidding me my son lost his job on 10/17/2020 hes mentally challenged and cant file on his own because he doesn’t know how so I started going to sites trying to file for him and the residence inn Marriott promised to help him and have done zip . ive tried 10 different sites and I keep getting dropped wen I complete forms and push submit. 12 days now n still cant file a claim.

    1. Martin,

      There’s only one website you should be trying from. Please let us know your state and we’ll share the website information.

  5. I have submitted my forms EXACTLY as I was instructed too on line. Even though I have filled out the paperwork correctly I keep getting emails asking for me to fill out the form that I have done multiple times already. Remuneration – Claimant Questionnaire is the issue. I got online and requested a phone call. 3 days ago. I just need to know that you guys received everything and I don’t owe any more information.
    Nobody answers the 617-626-6800 number. Just get directed to the internet. Well, you can’t speak with the internet. I am getting mixed messages and I fret that this will delay any benefits.
    Could someone please give me a call.

    1. James,

      Please try finding answers online since there might be limited phone support due to the shortage of staffing. This is a private forum and we’ll not be able to arrange a callback.

  6. I work for a church that has grown it’s congregation over almost 40 years and we now have 26 mostly full time employees, most being here many years. Will our employees be able to file and receive benefits since we are an EXEMPT from paying unemployment industry? State of Florida

  7. My unemployment benefits ran out 3/1/2020 am I able to file for extended benefits ? I live in California and am 62 years old.

    1. Ariana,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

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