Am I Eligible for Kansas Unemployment Benefits?

The Kansas Division of Unemployment Compensation is administered by the Kansas Department of Labor (KDOL), Division of Employment Security.  The primary goals are to provide temporary weekly Kansas unemployment compensation to workers without jobs who meet all requirements and to be a short-term assistance program that works to find reemployment for involuntarily unemployed workers.

The division operates two units.  The Kansas Benefits unit screen applicants and administers payment of unemployment benefits while the Tax unit collects the state unemployment tax from employers.  This benefit is funded solely from employer contributions.  Employees do not pay taxes to support this program.

Benefits are limited to between 16 and 26 weeks as determined by Kansas unemployment laws.

How Unemployment Works in Kansas

And How To Get Unemployment in Kansas

  1. File an unemployment claim with the Kansas Department of Labor, either online, in-person or over the phone, as soon as you become unemployed.
  2. After your Kansas unemployment application has been filed and approved, you will receive approval from the Department of Labor. If approved, you must wait one week before beginning to receive benefits.
  3. You will be required to search for new work and submit proof of job hunting activities to receive your weekly Kansas unemployment compensation. In some cases, you will be required to participate in reemployment services through a Kansas Workforce Center.
  4. As long as you continue filing weekly unemployment claims and meeting Kansas unemployment benefits eligibility requirements, you may continue receiving a weekly payout. Payouts range from $118 to $474 per week.
  5. You can continue collecting Kansas unemployment benefits for anywhere between 16 and 26 weeks. The amount of time varies based on Kansas unemployment rates and other factors, and in some cases, it is possible to file a Kansas unemployment extension for additional compensation.

Kansas Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

To collect Kansas Unemployment Insurance benefits, you must meet four eligibility requirements.

  • You must be wholly or partially unemployed each week.  For unemployment purposes, this means that you do not work and that no wages are payable to you for that week.  If you work less than full time, you may also be considered unemployed as long as your gross weekly wages do not exceed your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA). 
  • Your claim must be monetarily entitled.  To collect benefits, you must have earned a sufficient amount of wages before your Kansas unemployment claim filing.  Kansas uses a three-step process to determine whether that is the case or not.
  • Identify your base period.  This is the period of time KDOL officials look at to ensure that a claimant has enough wages to support a claim for benefits.  A base period is generally defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. 
  • There must be earned wages in at least two calendar quarters of the base period.
  • The Weekly Benefit Amount is determined.  Total base period wages must be greater than or equal to 30 times the WBA.  The WBA is equal to the total wages from the highest quarter in the base period multiplied by 4.25%. 
  • For example, if you earned $5,000 in one of your base period quarters and that in all other quarters you earned $4,000. Your WBA would be the sum of $5,000 x .425 which would equal $212.

You are entitled to draw benefits for a maximum amount for the duration of what is known as a Benefit Year.  This is the calendar year that starts with the Sunday of the week that you first filed for benefits.  Once your maximum amount is exhausted for the year, you will not be entitled to anymore benefits until the new Benefit Year starts. 

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It should also be noted that Kansas has a one week waiting period at the start of your benefit year in which you do not draw any benefits.

  • You must meet all eligibility Kansas unemployment requirements every week.  In short, this means that there can be nothing preventing you from seeking and accepting work if it is offered to you.  This is also known as being Able and Available.

Able means you can actually perform tasks that you would be able to do under normal circumstances for which you are trained or have experience.  If you have medical restrictions that prevent you from working, your claim may be denied.

Available means that you are available to accept a job if it is offered to you.  You cannot have transportation or childcare issues that prevent you from accepting a job, or your claim could be denied.

You are also required to seek work each week you are unemployed.  The only two instances where this is not a Kansas unemployment requirement is if you’re laid off only on a temporary basis or if you are a member of a union hall that customarily places its members in work. 

When you receive your monetary determination in the mail, you will also receive a Reemployment Plan.  You will need to complete and return this document within 7 days or your claim could be denied. 

  • You must not be subject to anything that could disqualify you from receiving benefits.  These may include:
  • Separation from work due to a suspension, leave of absence, temporary layoff, or being fired or quitting.  If you engaged in misconduct at work and you are let go, then you will be disqualified.
  • Refusing work.
  • Committing fraud.  If you do not report earnings while collecting benefits or you misrepresent or withhold information from KDOL, you could be disqualified from receiving benefits for five years.
  • Drug use while claiming benefits
  • Receiving workers compensation or disability benefits
  • Alien/citizenship issues
  • Reasonable assurance.  If you work for an educational institution in one term or semester and you have reasonable assurance that you will continue in that work going forward, then you may be disqualified for that period in between terms.

How do apply for Kansas unemployment benefits?

To file an initial claim for Kansas Unemployment Insurance benefits, you will need to create an account on the KDOL website located here.

You can also file a claim for through a Kansas unemployment phone number:

            Kansas City Area:  913-287-6913

            Topeka Area:  785-296-4337

            Wichita Area:   316-269-0633  

            Toll–free Kansas unemployment number, outside the local calling area: 800-292-6333.

Speech and/or hearing disabled Kansans can access the Kansas Relay Center by calling toll-free 800-766-3777.

The username, password and PIN you create will also allow you to check on the status of your claim, file your weekly claim and make changes to your personal information, such as if you move and need to notify KDOL of your new address.

File your first weekly claim on Sunday afternoon or evening or Monday before 7 pm after filing your Kansas unemployment claim in the previous week.  The calendar week for unemployment compensation runs from midnight Sunday to midnight the following Saturday.

You can file your weekly claim online at the following times:

  • Sunday from noon to Monday at 10:15 p.m.
  • Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 10:15 p.m.
  • Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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When you file a Kansas unemployment weekly claim for benefits, you will be asked the following questions:

  • Question 1: Did you work Sunday through Saturday during the week being claimed? Enter your gross earnings before deductions for this week. Do not include holiday, vacation or severance pay in this amount. Please enter the number of hours worked during the week being claimed.
  • Question 2: Did you receive any bonus pay during the week being claimed?
  • Question 3: Did you receive holiday pay for the week being claimed?
  • Question 4: Did you receive vacation pay for the week being claimed?
  • Question 5: Did you receive any severance pay for the week being claimed?
  • Question 6: Did you refuse work during the week being claimed?
  • Question 7: Did you quit a job or were you fired from a job during the week being claimed? Did you report the loss of employment to the Kansas Unemployment Contact Center?
  • Question 8: Did you attend school or enter training during the week being claimed?
  • Question 9: Did you receive or change any type of pension, other than Social Security benefits, during the week being claimed?
  • Question 10: Did you apply for or receive any Workers Compensation payments for the week being claimed that were for a work-connected injury or disability?
  • Question 11: Were you physically able to work four or more days during the week being claimed?
  • Question 12: Were you available for work with no undue restrictions for four or more days during the week being claimed?
  • Question 13: Did you look for work as directed by the Kansas Unemployment Contact Center or Internet claims system during the week being claimed?

Kansas unemployment laws require that claimants serve a one-week waiting period before being eligible for benefits. This is the first week that you meet all unemployment requirements for payment of benefits.

You will not be paid benefits for any week that you haven’t filed a Kansas unemployment claim. If you do not file for 14 days, your claim will automatically become inactive. This means that you would be required to call a contact center to reactivate your claim.

You should stop filing claims if…

  • You return to work full time.
  • You exhaust your benefits during the benefit year; or
  • You have exhausted all appeals available.

What will my Kansas unemployment amount be each week?

Claimants are based on the amount of wages they earn during their base period.  Wages are defined as all forms of payment for services rendered, including salaries, commissions, bonuses, tips, vacation and holiday pay, severance pay, and other forms of compensation other than cash. 

Income that is not considered to be wages includes medical or hospitalization expenses, payments into a health savings account, death benefits for employees, moving expenses paid by an employer, payment for agricultural work in any medium other than cash, meals or lodging furnished by the employer, employer matching contributions and other forms of employer contributions to a 401k plan.

To collect benefits, you must have earned a sufficient amount of wages before you filed your claim.  Kansas uses a three-step process to determine whether that is the case or not.

  • Identify your base period.  This is the period of time KDOL officials look at to ensure that a claimant has enough wages to support a claim for benefits.  A base period is generally defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. 
  • There must be earned wages in at least two calendar quarters of the base period.
  • The Weekly Benefit Amount is determined.  Total base period wages must be greater than or equal to 30 times the WBA.  The WBA is equal to the total wages from the quarter in the base period multiplied by 4.25%. 
  • For example, if you earned $5,000 in one of your base period quarters and that in all other quarters you earned $4,000. Your WBA would be the sum of $5,000 x .425 which would equal $212.

You are entitled to draw benefits for a maximum amount for the duration of what is known as a Benefit Year.  This is the calendar year that starts with the Sunday of the week that you first filed for benefits.  Once your maximum amount is exhausted for the year, you will not be entitled to anymore benefits until the new Benefit Year starts. 

Looking for a job while claiming Kansas unemployment benefits

When you get your Monetary Determination in the mail, you will also receive a Reemployment Plan. You are required to complete this document and return it within 7 days or you could face a denial of your claim and possible overpayment of benefits.

You must look for work each week by performing at least three job-seeking activities.  One of those must be the submission of a resume or job application for work.  You may not perform the same activity with the same employer in back-to-back weeks. 

You are required to participate in a variety of job seeking activities to improve your chances of gaining employment.  Other activities could include additional job applications, attendance at job fairs, attending a resume review course, taking part in Workforce Center services, browsing job posting websites, and so forth.

Claimants’ job search activities will be audited. When selected, you will be asked to provide work search verifications for multiple weeks. If you fail to provide this information or if the information is insufficient, then it may result in a denial of benefits.  It is imperative that you keep good records in case this is requested of you.

You may also be asked to provide evidence supporting your activities. You should keep brochures, pamphlets, emails, etc. from your various activities for this purpose. The KDOL may also contact those employers to whom you submit applications or resumes to verify that you have done so.

While claiming benefits, you may be instructed to participate in reemployment services provided by a local Workforce Center. These programs are designed to assist you to return to work and have been shown to reduce the length of a person’s unemployment. If you receive notice that you have been scheduled for such services, then participation is mandatory. Failure to do so may result in a denial of benefits.

Even if you are not required to report for such services, you may take advantage of these programs on your own. Simply go to your local Workforce Center to receive these beneficial services, which will help you get back to work sooner. This will count toward your work search activity requirements.

When and how will I be paid state of Kansas unemployment benefits?

The KDOL works with a third party bank to issue benefits to claimants through a MasterCard debit card.  After your first weekly benefit claim has been processed, money will be deposited to your account and you will be mailed a card within two to three days.  It may take as long as a week to process your first payable Kansas unemployment weekly claim. 

If your card is lost or stolen, you will need to contact the bank that issued the card, and not the KDOL.  Therefore, it is imperative that you keep the paperwork that comes with your card in a safe place. 

If there is an investigation regarding your Kansas unemployment eligibility, you may not be issued a debit card until the issue is resolved in your favor

What if I am denied my Kansas unemployment benefits?

If you are denied Kansas Unemployment Insurance benefits, you have the right to appeal a determination.  The appeal must be made within 16 days of the mailing of the date of the determination. 

An appeals referee will moderate a hearing which is usually conducted as a telephone conference call.  Both the employer and the employee have the right to be represented by an attorney or any other agent that may be able to help them.

The appeal referee will make a decision, but it may also be appealed to the Kansas Employment Security Board of Review.  That appeal must also be filed within 16 days from the date of the referee’s decision.  The Board does not grant a new hearing, but decides the matter only based on the record made at the appeal hearing.  No new evidence is considered, but the Board may contact the referee for more evidence if they feel it is needed.

A final appeal may be made to a Kansas district court.  The appeal must be filed in the proper judicial district and it must be made at the expense of the employer or the claimant.

In all instances, you should continue to file Kansas unemployment weekly claims while your appeal is pending.  You will only be paid for the weeks that you have done so.

Check Your Eligibility

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I acknowledge and understand that by submitting this Contact Request form through clicking "Check Eligibility!", I provide my express consent to the following: (1) That I am bound by Eligibility.com LLC’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use; (2) That I am not required to submit this form, and thereby agree to all terms located herein, as a condition to receive any property, goods, or services that may be offered, and that I may revoke my consent at any time.

Kansas Unemployment Eligibility: Terms You Should Know

Administrative Review: Review of a Contributions determination. A determination is made by Contributions field staff and includes a determination that an individual is an employee and not an independent contractor, that a business is liable for filing UI reports, etc.

Alternate Base Period: The last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of a benefit year. The alternate base period may apply when a claimant received workers compensation.

Appeal: A request for review of a determination or reconsideration issued by a deputy examiner.

Appeal Referee: A person who acts as administrative law judge at a hearing resulting from an appeal of a deputy examiner’s determination or reconsideration.

Base Period: The four-quarter period, either standard or alternate, used to determine Kansas unemployment benefits entitlement for an individual.

Benefit Determination: A determination by an adjudicator of the Kansas unemployment departmentc with respect to a person’s eligibility or Kansas unemployment qualifications for benefits.

Claimant: An individual who is seeking unemployment insurance benefits.

Contributing Employer: Any employer, other than a reimbursing employer or rated governmental employer, who pays contributions each quarter based upon a contribution rate and a taxable wage base as determined in the law.

Disqualification: A denial of unemployment insurance benefits.

Judicial Review: Review by the district court or appellate court of the final decision by the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Labor.

Monetary Determination: A determination notifying the claimant of “base period wages” and whether the wages are sufficient to establish entitlement for benefits. If sufficient, then a weekly benefit amount and total benefit amount are established for the benefit year.

Standard Base Period: The first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of a benefit year.

Total Benefit Amount: The total benefits an individual is entitled to receive during the benefit year.

Weekly Benefit Amount: The amount that an individual may receive as weekly benefits that are based on highest quarterly earnings in the base period of their claim.

For more information on the state of Kansas unemployment program

Information about benefit claims may be obtained from the Kansas unemployment office listed below:

Unemployment Insurance Contact Center
PO Box 3539
Topeka, KS 66601-3539

  1. Topeka area:  (785) 575-1460
  2. Kansas City area:   (913) 596-3500
  3. Wichita area:  (316) 383-9947

Toll-Free for those outside the above calling areas:  (800) 292-6333

Kansas unemployment website: www.GetKansasBenefits.gov

Filing an appeal for Kansas unemployment

If you are denied Kansas unemployment benefits, to file an appeal, you must do so in writing.  Write to the following address:

Office of Appeals
401 SW Topeka Blvd.
Topeka KS 66603-3182

Fax: (785) 296-4065  

You can also find other Kansas unemployment office locations here.

Unemployment in Other States

If you have worked in multiple states, you will need to file an unemployment claim in the state where you physically were employed.  Here are some of our other state guides to unemployment eligibility.

Florida Unemployment Eligibility: How To Qualify

Missouri Unemployment Benefits Program

Oklahoma Unemployment Eligibility Guidelines