Unemployment insurance constitutes those benefits awarded by states to United States citizens and qualified permanent residents who lose work through no fault of their own. Some states award unemployment benefits to individuals who voluntarily leave a position or get fired on account of misconduct. In such instances, recipients must endure a period of disqualification before benefits begin. The length of a benefits suspension depends upon the state and the reason for leaving a job.
Generally, an 11-week disqualification from unemployment benefits constitutes a 10-week benefit suspension coupled with a one week waiting period. When an individual files for unemployment, many states require a one week waiting period before an individual begins receiving benefits. Some states impose this week in addition to a period of disqualification rather than including it as part of the disqualification period. This waiting period constitutes the first week of an 11-week benefits disqualification, while the remaining 10 weeks of the disqualification technically qualify as the disqualification itself. Other states impose varying lengths of suspension based on the individual case in question, which may last for as long as 11 weeks.
States with 11-Week Disqualifications
A number of states impose 10 week unemployment disqualification periods, though only a handful of the states do so with addition of the obligatory one week of waiting. States with 11 week periods of UI disqualification are Maryland, which imposes a 5 to 10 week disqualification plus one week; Virginia, which imposes a 6 to 12 week disqualification with a one week period of waiting; Colorado; Florida, which imposes as many as 52 weeks of suspension plus a one-week waiting period; South Carolina, which imposes a one week waiting period in addition to 5 to 26 weeks of disqualification; and Vermont, which disqualifies unemployment recipients for 6 to 12 weeks, plus a one week waiting period.
Reasons for Disqualification
Those who leave a job voluntarily and those who lose a job on account of misconduct both qualify for a period of unemployment benefits suspension or disqualification. Maryland and Colorado impose an 11-week suspension in both cases. Virginia imposes disqualification on those who leave work voluntarily, while Florida, South Carolina and Vermont do so in the case of individuals who are fired for misconduct. If an benefits recipient can prove that an employer fired him or her for reasons other than misconduct, that individual no longer faces a mandatory period of benefits disqualification.
Other than Vermont, all states imposing an 11-week period of disqualification cancel a number of benefit weeks equal to the period of suspension. This means that an individual who receives an 11-week suspension in these states only receives 15 weeks of unemployment benefits, rather than the standard 26, once the period of disqualification lapses. Individuals do not automatically qualify for disqualification periods; rather, the state considers each case individually. Those not qualifying for disqualification see their benefits canceled completely. Federal law enables automatic cancellation of all benefits for three reasons, unemployment benefits fraud, receiving unreported income and firing for misconduct.