Can I collect unemployment benefits while suspended from my job?

Written by sherrie scott
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Can I collect unemployment benefits while suspended from my job?
Suspended workers may apply for unemployment benefits. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

An employee suspension is disciplinary action an employer uses to correct inappropriate behaviour or improve the worker's performance. A suspension can last from one day to 30 days or more depending on the severity of the incident. If you are suspended without pay, this creates a "work separation" issue and is typically grounds to file for unemployment benefits. However, once you file, it is up to the state unemployment department to review your case and award benefits.

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Claim filing

When you get suspended without pay, the condition for filing for unemployment exists. You also have the right to file for unemployment if you quit or lose your job while suspended. Once the department receives your claim, it will notify your previous employer. Your previous employer has the right to file a written objection if he feels you do not qualify for benefits based on the reasons for your suspension.

Unemployment eligibility

A worker is eligible for unemployment benefits if she is separated from employment through no fault of her own. In most states, if you lose your job or get suspended for any reason other than a lack of work such as for a layoff, the department will review your case and make a determination about your eligibility. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits during a suspension depending on why you were suspended. You must also meet specific requirements for wages earned while employed and length of time worked to qualify for benefits.

Disqualification

If the suspension was your fault, the unemployment department will most likely deny benefits. You do not qualify for unemployment benefits if your suspension resulted from misconduct or violation of a company policy. Misconduct is considered behaviour that wilfully disregards the interests of your employer. If the unemployment department finds that your actions caused the suspension, it will deny your unemployment claim.

Income alternatives

If your suspension is only temporary and you expect to return to work, you have the option to apply for a temporary position at another company to replace your lost income. The job would provide temporary income to help you manage your finances until you return to work if the unemployment department denies your claim for benefits. Also, many local and state agencies provide temporary assistance for employees who are out of work. Agencies such as the Department of Economic Security or Housing and Urban Development can potentially help with utility bills, childcare expenses and your rent or mortgage if you qualify.

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