Why Was My Unemployment Claim Denied?

Researcher & Writer
January 18, 2016

When you file an unemployment insurance claim, it is reviewed by your State Unemployment Insurance Agency. If the agency reviews your claim and determines you are not in fact unemployed through no fault of your own, you will be denied benefits. If you quit your job or were fired, the burden of proof lies on the employee to prove your unemployment was in fact caused by no fault of your own, or that your reason for leaving should be considered just cause. Your employer has the right to appeal your claim if there is a debate over the reason you left your job.

Unemployment claims are often denied for the following reasons:

You quit your job

Your claim will likely be denied if you voluntarily quit your job. Since you made the choice to leave the company, you hold fault in becoming unemployed. There are certain circumstances when an employee is left with no options other than quitting, which are considered a "just cause" and may still allow the employee to collect unemployment.

You were fired

Benefits are not paid to employees whose misconduct causes them to become unemployed. If you are fired from a job for misconduct of any kind, your unemployment insurance claim will likely be denied. Common types of misconduct include tardiness, not adhering to company policies, or insubordination.

You don’t meet eligibility requirements for income and hours worked

Each state has its own set of eligibility requirements in regards to wages earned and time worked during your base period (a period of time used to calculate your unemployment benefits). If you do not meet your states requirements, your unemployment claim will be denied.

You’re involved in a labor dispute

Individuals who stop working because of a labor dispute, such as a strike, are not usually eligible for unemployment benefits.

If your initial claim is approved, it is possible for benefits to be denied at any time if you stop meeting eligibility requirements. This commonly happens if an individual does not accept suitable work, is not available to work or does not file their weekly claim. You should always fill out your weekly claims truthfully and on time to continue receiving benefits as long as you are eligible.

It is important to provide accurate and up to date information when filing your initial and weekly claims. If believe your claim was wrongfully denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. This can be done through your State Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Written by
Eligibility Team
We are a team of experts dedicated to finding the right government programs for you. Our mission is simple: help people quickly and easily understand which programs they might be eligible for—all in one place. Our team is dedicated to researching and providing you with the most relevant information. We compile only the most trusted information from government sources into one place so you can find the facts you need and skip what you don’t.
Related Articles
Senior couple mountain biking
Does Medicare Cover International Travel?
Travel is by far Americans’ No. 1 retirement dream,1 and many of those who chase...
Active Adult Couple Running
The Silver&Fit® Program–Embrace Active and Healthy Aging
The Silver&Fit exercise and healthy aging program is provided by American Specialty Health. Silver&Fit is...
Female nurse with female patient
What is Medicare Dual Eligible and How Do I Qualify?
Most Americans understand that when they turn 65, Medicare will become their main health insurance...