Can You Get Unemployment if You Are a Dependent?

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The unemployment insurance program offers insurance payments for people who become unemployed through no fault of their own, but these people must meet state requirements to receive these benefits. Eligibility for unemployment is dependent on many factors, but none of these requirements are influenced by whether someone else can claim you as a dependent on their yearly income tax filing or not.


Unemployment insurance is a federal program administrated and regulated by each state. It is offered to eligible workers who lose their job through no fault of their own. It offers a percentage of your earnings over a recent 52-week period, but the percentage received is determined by each state. Funding for unemployment insurance comes from a tax imposed on employers.


Eligibility requires you to be totally or partially unemployed, and you must experience this unemployed state through no fault of your own. The time you were employed will also influence your eligibility, as you must have worked at least four quarters or a full year to qualify.

Benefit Amount

The amount of unemployment insurance you receive is not the full amount of your prior weekly pay, but is instead only a percentage. To get this percentage, the highest earnings you made in two quarters are divided by 2 to get your average quarterly pay, then divided by 26 to get your weekly benefit rate. As a general rule, you must have earned 40 times your weekly benefit rate during the year you worked to be eligible for unemployment. So if you qualify for an unemployment weekly payment of $150, your earnings for the year need to be approximately $6,080.

Dependent Status

A qualifying dependent is a child or family member living with someone who pays at least half of all household expenses. When claiming adult children as dependents, there is an age limitation. An adult non-student dependent must be under the age of 19 to continue being a dependent, after this time he is ineligible for the status. As a full-time student, this age limit rises to 24, and handicapped dependents have no age limitation. Elderly parents may also be claimed as dependents, but need not live in the same home as the person claiming them. If you meet any of these dependent eligibility requirements, you may still be claimed as a dependent, whether you file for unemployment insurance or not.