What is Unemployment Insurance?

Deborah Ng

Unemployment insurance is a temporary source of income. If an eligible person loses his job, he will be able to receive weekly payments thanks to money that was paid to his unemployment fund by his employer, via payroll taxes, while he was still gainfully employed. If eligible, a person can receive unemployment insurance once all of the proper paperwork is filed. This type of insurance is not retroactive, so it would not be in one's best interest to procrastinate. You're paid only from the day you file.

If an employee was fired due to misconduct, they may be ineligible for unemployment insurance.
If an employee was fired due to misconduct, they may be ineligible for unemployment insurance.

In most cases, a worker is eligible for unemployment insurance immediately upon being terminated from his place of employment. The termination has to be the decision of the employer, however. If an employee quits or resigns of his own accord, he is ineligible for unemployment unless there were extenuating circumstances. These circumstances will have to be proven before the insurance can be paid. In addition, a person who had been employed for less than three months before being terminated is also ineligible. If an employee was fired because of misconduct or damage to company property, he might also be considered ineligible.

People who apply for unemployment benefits must prove they are actively seeking employment.
People who apply for unemployment benefits must prove they are actively seeking employment.

There are other situations in which a person is ineligible for unemployment insurance. For instance, someone who is self employed can't collect unemployment, nor can someone who is not a citizen and wasn't legally employed. If your hours have been cut, you may be eligible for partial unemployment. Also, if you lost your job because of damage to your place of employment by fire or forces of nature such as a flood or hurricane, you might be eligible, even if you didn't work the requisite three months.

It used to be that those wishing to receive unemployment insurance payments had to put in a weekly or monthly appearance at the unemployment office not only to file the proper papers, but to prove they were seeking employment. Now this can be done over the phone or even online. Check your state's guidelines to see if you need to appear in person to collect the insurance.

If your employment has been terminated, check with your local Department of Labor to learn how to apply for unemployment insurance. Thanks to the wonders of technology, your state may be set up so you can handle all unemployment matters over the phone or computer. This will save time so you can begin looking for a job right away and become an active member of the workforce once again.

Unemployment insurance provides a temporary source of income to individuals who are no longer employed.
Unemployment insurance provides a temporary source of income to individuals who are no longer employed.

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Discussion Comments


@anon258: Are you kidding me? You retired. You do not get free money because you retired! You had a job that you decided to leave. They did not just let you go.

No wonder America is where it is. Someone is always wanting something. I think people should get out and get a job. McDonald's is almost always hiring.

I am so tired of paying taxes so that people can sit at home with an iPhone, with free internet, free cable, free electricity, free food, and free stuff for their children. Oh, poor them. They get bored during the day when I work my work week and pay taxes to support them!


I was denied unemployment in Michigan, and I was wondering if I have a shot at an appeal. I was at work and left for a doctor's appointment. My boss said it was OK for me to leave.

The doctor excused me from work that day due to illness. I came back to work the next morning and they fired me. My employer claims I left because some of our internet access was taken away.

My first determination was denied because they claimed it was misconduct, and I am waiting for an appeal.

Was this not the employer's fault?


I work for nys. I was just suspended without pay for misconduct. My union is appealing this and will go to arbitration in the near future. Can I receive unemployment during this process? I was told yes, but if I won my case I would have to pay it back. When can I apply and how long does it take to get your first check?


I am 8 months pregnant and recently have had a few complications during my pregnancy that are causing me to not meet my sales goals at my job. I am an insurance agent and have to physically walk and talk to clients. If my employer terminates me will I be eligible for unemployement and any insurance benefits?


i'm about to be terminated from my job because i got a DUI and at my job i'm a driver...so will i be able to get unemployment?


I have two part time jobs and one of them is cutting my hours to one day a week (was working three 8 hour days) due to them needing to save money. I heard that i can get partial unemployment but I wasn't sure if that was just for full time workers or not? I tried calling EDD but the phone lines are always busy or tell me to call back next week. I need help!


What is the most a person can receive in unemployment benefits?


I retired and a year later went to work again. I'm have EI deductions. I've been told that I will not be able to collect at any time because I have a pension. I would like to know why I'm having to pay EI in the first place? I have friends that refused and received their deductions back. On the other hand I have been told I would have to pay it sooner or later if I refuse the deductions.

Thanks for any help.



My friend is currently on administrative leave and is being forced to resign. She was also told by her Union Rep that she will be able to claim unemployment. Is this true?



a company has a policy that before someone could be hired as a fulltime/permanent, he/she will be hired under contract 3 months. my question is, whether this person eligible for unemployment insurance if the contract just won't be extended / changed to full time? this employee just finished 3 months contract, and the company decided not to hired him/her as a full timer.



I recently retired from a large retailer. I was in management working 60-80 hrs a week. I now want to work part time, I have been applying at several places and recently applied for unemployment which was denied since I retired from my job. I thought I would be able to collect?

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