Can I Receive Unemployment Benefits if I Was Fired?

Eligibility Team
Researcher & Writer
May 23, 2017

If you are fired or let go, you may be wondering if you are eligible to receive unemployment payments. In most cases, the answer is no, but there are certain circumstances when an employee who was fired may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

Did You Lose Your Job Through No Fault of Your Own?

Unemployment benefits are reserved for individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Usually, when an employee is fired it is because of misconduct, and is, therefore, the employee’s fault. Some reasons for being fired may include tardiness, poor work performance, harassment, violating company policies, or inappropriate behavior towards co-workers. If you are fired from your job for these reasons or one like it, you are not likely eligible for unemployment payments.

In some rare cases, an employee may be let go because they do not have the skills to complete the job. Usually in these situations there was a miscommunication between the job description and the actual duties assigned. Or the position evolves beyond the scope of the employee's abilities and they are not able to learn the new skills needed to fulfill the employer’s needs. In this situation, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Consider these scenarios:

Lisa has been working as a New York bank teller for 6 months. She starts showing up late and is given a formal written warning by her boss after the third time. The next week, Lisa shows up late without warning yet again. Her employer sits her down and tells her that her services will no longer be needed at the bank.

Since Lisa was fired because of her chronic tardiness, she is not likely eligible for NY unemployment benefits.

Andrew was recently hired as a data entry assistant at an IT company. After a few weeks on the job, Andrew’s supervisor begins asking him to perform tasks outside of his job description that he does not have the skills to complete. No extra training is offered, and Andrew begins making mistakes and falling behind in his work. After a few missed deadlines Andrew’s boss tells him he is fired.

Since Andrew was fired because he does not have the skills or means to learn the skills required to perform his job, he may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

If you’ve been fired and believe you may qualify for unemployment benefits, contact your state unemployment agency for more information.

Next, learn how to file an appeal if your claim for unemployment benefits is denied.

Unemployment Benefits in Your State

Review the unemployment benefits guidelines in your state.  We have outlined the specific state requirements for each state, including these listed below.

Eligibility Team
Written by
Eligibility Team
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