When a person becomes unemployed, it can become a financial hardship if the individual is not eligible for unemployment benefits. In the United States, the US Department of Labor determines eligibility for unemployment compensation. Most countries with large labor forces have the same basic guidelines as the US for unemployment benefits.
In the US, in order to become eligible for unemployment benefits, the worker has to be able to show proof of employment for the job worked and prove that the reason he or she became unemployed was not the worker’s fault. Some examples of qualified unemployment would be a situation where the employee was terminated for a reason other than misconduct or that the employee voluntarily resigned from the company due to “good cause.” When an employee leaves a company for a good cause, this includes a work environment that is harmful to the worker, such as sexual harassment or abusive behavior from co-workers. Other good cause reasons would be job conditions that are dangerous or mentally stressful to the worker.
Universally, the length of time that the person was with the company also determines how much a person is eligible for unemployment benefits. For example, in the US, a worker's unemployment benefits are calculated using a one-year base period. In the United Kingdom, the system uses a two-year base period to calculate how much compensation a worker may get. If the person has worked less than the designated base period or part-time hours, the individual may not be legible for unemployment benefits or only receive a partial amount.
Each country requires extensive documentation to confirm individuals are eligible for unemployment benefits. Several things needed to complete the unemployment application are proof of identity, which may be a Social Security card, alien registration card or passport. The agency also has to have employer information for the past two years including contact person, address and company telephone number. If any of these records are missing, it could delay approval of the person’s application.
Most jurisdictions also have other basic considerations for a person to get compensation. The applicant must be physically able to work, available immediately to return to work and actively looking for work. If a person’s application is approved for unemployment benefits, he or she will have to routinely look for a new job and submit documentation regarding the number of job inquires performed each month. In the event that the person fails to do, the individual may no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits.