When you are first approved to collect unemployment benefits, there is a limit attached to the approval. That limit is called a “benefit year.” A benefit year allows you to have an unlimited number of unemployment episodes, including layoffs, during a one-year period and still qualify for benefits.
Yes You Can
It is possible to draw unemployment again after being laid off for the second time. How you go about drawing benefits again can vary depending upon the circumstances. When you first apply for unemployment benefits, you are approved to receive benefits for up to 52 weeks, depending upon your resident state. You are usually qualified to receive up to 26 unemployment checks during that 52 week period. If you went back to work before collecting all of the benefit checks you were entitled to, you can usually reinstate your benefits.
Where You Left Off
If you didn't collect all of your approved benefits before going back to work, pick up where you left off. For instance, you may have received only 15 unemployment checks before going back to work, when you were approved to receive 26. That means you have 11 more checks you can receive. The good news is that you usually don't have to go through the entire application process again. Simply contact the unemployment insurance agency to let them know you need to reactivate your benefits. You can generally only reactivate benefits if less than 52 weeks have passed since the date of your original unemployment claim.
The Reason For Your Job Loss
The unemployment agency will ask about the reason for your job loss. To reactivate benefits, you can't be at fault for the loss. The loss must be the result of something beyond your control. An example of a job loss where you may be considered “at-fault,” is when you are let go due to poor attendance habits or for violating company rules. If the employer is at fault for the job loss, reactivating benefits should be relatively easy.
When Your Benefit Year Has Expired
If more than 52 weeks have passed since you were first approved for unemployment benefits, it means your benefit year has expired. In this case, you must start a whole new application for benefits. You will go through the same process as your original application, including the telephone interview and an evaluation of your base-period wages. Base-period wages are your earnings during the 12- month period leading up to the job loss. If you didn't earn a certain level of wages during this 12-month period, your request for benefits will be denied.
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