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Not sure if you qualify for unemployment benefits? Let us help

Losing a job can be one of the most terrifying experiences you ever go through. Even if you have savings, that money will not last forever, and the funds will likely quickly dwindle as you continue paying rent or a mortgage, purchasing groceries, and writing checks for your car loan.

Although certainly disheartening, losing a job does not have to be the end of the world. Unemployment benefits provide temporary compensation for laid-off workers, giving them the financial bridge they need while searching for new work.

How do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment, you must be a citizen of the United States and previously employed. How long that employment must last before qualifying for unemployment can vary, and how much you earned, if you are still able to work, and whether you are currently looking for work may all impact your eligibility.

How you left your last job also affects your eligibility. Quitting due to job dissatisfaction does not count towards unemployment benefits. In general, you may qualify if your employer fired you or laid you off. However, you may still qualify for unemployment if you quit under the following circumstances:

  • The place of employment relocated outside of your ability to commute
  • The job and its duties endangered your health or life
  • You needed to care for a sick relative, or other personal reason

Am I allowed to turn down a job while on unemployment?

Finding a new job within a reasonable commuting distance that also pays well can be much like searching for a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. You may spend weeks or even months filling out applications and attending interviews, desperately hoping for a new employment opportunity. It can feel counterintuitive to turn down an offer, especially if doing so may disqualify you from your current unemployment benefits.

In some instances, it does not make sense to accept an offer of employment, even if you have been unemployed for some time. You may turn down a position for the following reasons without compromising your unemployment:

  • The new position pays less or requires a longer commute than your past job
  • Your training and experience is far above the requirements of the employment offer
  • The position involves more danger and hazardous duties than you experienced at your old position

What if I'm not sure if I qualify for unemployment?

Unfortunately, some Rhode Island employers are more focused on their bottom line than helping their employees, both current and past. Whether purposely or through ignorance, some of these employers tell workers they will not qualify for unemployment benefits regardless of the circumstances in which they leave a position. This is very confusing for most people.

If you recently lost your job or quit because of compelling personal reasons and are unsure of your unemployment eligibility, we can help. With our intricate knowledge of employment law, we provide vigorous and experienced representation to former workers seeking help with their unemployment benefits.

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