Why Unemployment Claims Are Denied
If your unemployment claim is denied initially, the agency probably found that you are ineligible for unemployment benefits because:
- You voluntarily quit your job. You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits even if you quit your last job, if you had a good reason (as defined by state law) for doing so. (See Nolo’s article Unemployment Benefits: What If You Quit? for more information.) If you were denied unemployment benefits because you quit your job, however, that means the state agency decided your reasons for quitting the job didn’t qualify.
- You were fired from your last job for misconduct. As explained in Nolo’s article Unemployment Benefits: What If You’re Fired?, being fired doesn’t necessarily make you ineligible for benefits. However, if the reasons your employer gave for firing you meet the state’s definition of misconduct, your claim may be denied.
- You didn’t have sufficient earnings or work during the base period. Each state imposes earnings and/or work requirements as explained in Nolo’s article Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period. If the agency finds you don’t meet those requirements, it may deny your claim. You may have earned income from a source that doesn’t count towards these requirements (for example, from a side business). Or your employer may have incorrectly reported your earnings.
Even if your unemployment claim is initially granted, you may later be denied unemployment benefits if you don’t meet the ongoing requirements. For example, if you turn down suitable work, aren’t available for work (you take a long trip, for example), or you don’t report earnings you receive while collecting unemployment benefits, the state may deny your claim going forward.