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Qualifying wages and employment
  • States call for UC claimants to meet specific eligibility requirements.

All states require that a claimant must have earned a specified amount of wages or must have worked a certain number of weeks or calendar quarters in covered employment, or must have met some combination of the wage and employment requirements within the person’s base period, to qualify for benefits.

For instance, an individual might have to earn a certain level of income during four of the previous five calendar quarters to qualify for benefits. Of course, the individual might meet this standard after working for more than one employer.

Some employers mistakenly believe that if a company hires an individual for a limited period of time (such as six months), the worker won't be eligible for benefits after separation. However, if the person worked another job prior to accepting the short-term position, the person could meet the eligibility criteria for total earnings and total weeks (or calendar quarters) of employment.