Umemployment Benefits for Truck Drivers

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A truck driver may find himself unemployed because of an economic downturn, layoffs or the nature of seasonal employment, among other reasons. When a truck driver is unemployed, she may be eligible to receive unemployment compensation benefits. If the truck driver is an owner-operator, he will likely not be eligible as he is considered self-employed in most cases; however, a truck driver who worked for a company may be entitled to receive benefits just like any other employee if he meets all eligibility requirements.

General Eligibility

Although individual states administer their own unemployment compensation benefits, there are a number of common general eligibility requirements for anyone applying for unemployment compensation benefits. You must be a U.S. citizen or a noncitizen who has permission to work in the United States. You have to also be available and able to work as well as be actively looking for a job. In addition, you must have been separated from her job through no fault of your own.

Wages in the Base Period

Along with the general requirements for receiving unemployment compensation benefits, the claimant must have sufficient wages in his base period to qualify. Most states consider the base period to be the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the date you apply for benefits. An alternative base period is sometimes available if the claimant does not qualify using the traditional base period. States frequently require wages in at least two quarters and a minimum total wages in the base period to qualify. The minimum will vary by state.

Benefit Amount and Length

The amount of the weekly benefit will depend on the amount of wages earned in the base period. Individual states calculate the weekly benefit differently; however, most states also have a minimum and maximum weekly benefit rate. Regular unemployment benefits are usually available for up to 26 weeks if the you have sufficient wages in the base period. Emergency and/or extended benefits may be available that will extend the number of weeks by as much as an additional year or more. Emergency benefits are authorized by the federal government and are subject to change. Check with the state unemployment office for information on emergency benefit extensions.

How to Apply

You must apply for benefits in the state where you are considered a resident. Although truck drivers often work in many states, and may work for a company based in a state other than the state where they are residents, you must apply in your home state. Many states accept applications over the Internet.

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