In order to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, a claimant must:
1. Have been separated from his most recent covered employer through no fault of his own.
A claimant will not be eligible for benefits if he left his most recent covered employer for disqualifying reasons such as:
a. voluntarily quitting without good cause connected with work,
b. being discharged for willful misconduct connected with work, or
c. being involved in a labor strike in active progress.
(see BENEFIT DISQUALIFICATIONS for more details)
2. Have earned sufficient wages during his base period to be monetarily eligible for benefits. (A claimant’s base period is the first four of the last five complete calendar quarters prior to the quarter in which he filed his claim for benefits.)
A claimant will be monetarily eligible if the claimant had wages for insured employment of at least $1,560.02 in the two highest quarters of his base period. A claimant must also have had the lesser of six times his weekly benefit amount or $900 in total wages in the three quarters outside the high quarter of his base period.
The claim of a monetarily eligible individual could be approved if the separation was due to non-disqualifying circumstances.
To receive unemployment benefits an unemployed worker must establish a benefit year by filing a claim, meet work search requirements, and meet the following qualifications:
1. be totally unemployed or performing less than full-time work and earning less than his weekly benefit amount;
2. be able and available for work (unless specifically exempted in Section 50-7-302(a)(3));
3. have served a waiting period of one week*; and
4. be making a reasonable effort to secure work, unless specifically exempted in Section 50-7-302(a)(4).
* The claimant is not paid benefits for the waiting period unless and until the claimant is certified for benefits in the claimant’s waiting period and in each of the three consecutive weeks immediately following the claimant’s waiting period.
A benefit year is established when a valid claim is filed and continues for 52 weeks from the effective date of the claim.
Weekly Benefit Amount (Section 50-7-301(b))
The maximum amount of unemployment benefits a claimant is eligible to receive each week is called his weekly benefit amount (WBA).
A claimant’s WBA is based on the average of his total wages in the two highest quarters of his base period (the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the calendar quarter in which he filed his initial claim for benefits). His WBA will correspond to his two-quarter average on the unemployment insurance Benefit Table. WBA’s increase in increments of $1 from a minimum WBA of $30 to a maximum WBA of $275.
A claimant must have a two calendar-quarter average of at least $780.01 to qualify for the minimum WBA of $30 and a two-quarter average of at least $7,150.01 to qualify for the maximum WBA of $275.
Maximum Benefit Amount and Duration of Benefits
The maximum benefit amount a claimant may receive during his benefit year (the 52-week period beginning the week in which the claimant files his initial claim) is the lesser of 26 times his weekly benefit amount (WBA) or one-fourth of his total base period wages for insured work.
The lesser of these two figures is then divided by the claimant’s WBA to determine the number of weeks he can draw benefits. The duration varies from 13 to 26 weeks.
A claimant’s deductible allowance is the greater of $50 or 25% of his weekly benefit amount (WBA). A claimant may earn up to his deductible allowance in wages in a week and still be eligible for his full WBA. Wages in excess of the deductible allowance are deducted dollar for dollar from a claimant’s WBA. A claimant will not be eligible for benefits in any week in which he had wages equal to or in excess of his WBA (see PARTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT).