What are the requirements to get unemployment in Alabama?
In the state of Alabama, the Department of Labor (DOL) handles all matters relating to unemployment benefits. Thus, the DOL is responsible for determining eligibility for EDD benefits. While nobody ever hopes to have to deal with unemployment insurance, the reality is that many citizens will either directly or indirectly be involved with unemployment at some point. When it comes to Alabama unemployment insurance eligibility, there are three requirements every resident must meet:
- You must have earned a certain amount in wages before you were unemployed.
- You must be unemployed through no fault of your own, as defined by Alabama state law.
- You must be able and available to work, and you must be actively seeking employment.
Alabama Earnings Requirements
The first part of securing eligibility for unemployment in Alabama deals with your past earnings. No matter what state you live in, unemployment insurance eligibility is typically related to your past earnings during a one-year base period. In Alabama, this base period consists of the earliest four of the five completed calendar quarters before you filed your unemployment insurance benefits claim.
Alabama qualifications for unemployment benefits mandate the following:
- You must have worked in at least two quarters of the base period.
- You must have earned at least one-and-a-half times your earnings in the highest paid quarter of the base period.
- Your average quarterly earnings during the two highest paid quarters of the base period must be at least $1,157.01.
Acceptable Reasons for Unemployment in Alabama
Beyond the wage stipulations, the second part of qualifying for unemployment insurance in Alabama relates to your reason for unemployment. Qualifying for unemployment in The Cotton State requires that you lost your job through no fault of your own. Reasons for unemployment that fall under this category include:
- Being laid off – If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF) or got downsized for economic reasons, you meet the Alabama reason for unemployment requirement.
- Being fired – If you were fired for a lack of skills to perform your job or you were deemed a poor fit for your position, you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct, you will be ineligible. Misconduct includes: absences or tardiness, failing to follow rules, endangering the safety of co-workers and disregarding instructions or orders.
- Quitting –Should you quit your job, you also give up your eligibility for unemployment benefits.
- The only exception is if you had good cause, such as sexual harassment that your employer refused to stop or unsafe working conditions.
Any time you lose your job through your own fault, you risk your eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits, which can be costly for both you and your loved ones.
Work Availability in Alabama
The final qualification for unemployment insurance benefits in Alabama has to do with your availability to work. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be able and available to work and be actively seeking employment. Should you be offered a suitable job, you must accept it. A suitable job is dependent on several factors, including the skill and training required, how much the job pays, how similar the job is to your past one, and the length of your commute to work. The longer you are unemployed, the more you will be expected to change your standards and consider accepting work that is different or does not pay as well as what you did in the past.
Keep in mind that eligibility for unemployment is part of a good faith process. The Alabama Department of Labor requires that you keep records of the employers you contact, the dates you made contact and the outcome. The DOL can ask you to provide contact information for employers you have contacted at any point during your unemployment insurance benefits claim.