To be eligible for unemployment benefits, a claimant must be able, available, and actively seeking work.
Able to Work
The claimant must be able to work in order to receive unemployment benefits. This means that the claimant must have the ability to work at the claimant's usual trade, occupation, or business or in such other trade, occupation, or business for which the claimant’s prior training or experience shows the individual to be fit or qualified. It also means that the claimant must be able to work the same hours as they were previously working before losing his or her job.
Available for Work
An individual claimant must be available for work either at a locality at which the individual earned wages for insured work during the individual’s base period or at a new locality to which the individual has moved and where it may reasonably be expected that work suitable for the individual will be available.
Actively Seeking Work
The claimant must be actively seeking work, meaning that he or she must be personally searching for work in order to qualify for unemployment benefits. The claimant must also be seeking but unable to find full-time work. The Department requires claimants to make at two contacts with prospective employers each week the through the Department’s own work-search website. The failure to conduct searches as required can result in a determination that a claimant is ineligible for benefits.
The refusal to accept an offer of work can result in disqualification. Claimants may consider the amount of pay when deciding whether to accept an offer of work, however there are limits. During the first eight weeks of unemployment, claimants are obliged to accept an offer if it pays ninety percent of the wage earned from the claimant’s most recent bona fide employer. After more than eight weeks of unemployment benefits, claimants are required to accept offers that pay seventy-five percent of the wage earned from the claimant’s most recent bona fide employer. A claimant is not required to accept work if the offer of pay is less than minimum wage.
Claimants who are disqualified from benefits for one of the reasons discussed above can appeal the disqualification. An appeal must be filed within ten calendar days of the mailing date of the determination notifying them of the disqualification.