Unemployed workers who resign voluntarily may still be eligible for unemployment benefits, depending on their state's laws regarding unemployment insurance. States such as Texas and Ohio allow a voluntarily-unemployed resident to receive unemployment compensation, but only if he presents a reasonable cause for quitting his job. The definition of a reasonable cause varies between states that pay voluntary-unemployed applicants' unemployment insurance, but all of these states require proof, in the form of supporting documents, as to why an out-of-work applicant resigned from his job.
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Discuss your resignation with your supervisor prior to handing in your two weeks' notice. You must give your employer the opportunity to correct any work-related problems that are the reason for you quitting your job. This protects you, because if you inform your boss of work-related problems and he doesn't take action to correct them, you may use his inaction as reasonable cause to resign from your job, says Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut. Keep a record of dates, times and a synopsis of every chat with your supervisor, just in case the unemployment board asks for proof that you made an effort to solve work-related problems before resigning, says the Texas Workforce Commission.
Collect documents that confirm you had a reasonable cause for resigning from your job. According to Ohio's Department of Job and Family Services, instances of reasonable cause include a work environment detrimental to your health, supervisor non-compliance with your hiring agreement, employer breach of legal and moral codes, or medical leave to look after a family member, or yourself. Hand in your resignation after you've collected all pertinent documents. Don't elaborate if your supervisor asks why you're resigning, because any details could give them the upper hand when you file your unemployment claim.
File your unemployment application at the nearest unemployment office, or workforce centre, as normal, but reply "yes" when asked if you resigned from your job, and supply copies of the reasonable cause documents.
Wait a few weeks for a reply and decision from the unemployment board. It takes the unemployment board a bit longer to make decisions for voluntarily-unemployed applicants, because unemployment agencies are obligated by law to speak to your employer and examine your reasonable cause claim.
Tips and warnings
- If you voluntarily resign from your job to relocate with a military spouse reassigned to a permanent station change, many states will process your unemployment claim without any additional request to prove reasonable cause for resignation.
- If you receive benefits such as food stamps or Temporary Family Assistance from other state agencies, you could face penalties, even if you quit your job with reasonable cause. Many of these programs require recipients to remain employed to receive benefits, so call the appropriate state agencies ahead of resigning to find out if you'll be penalised, and to what degree.
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