Laid Off Versus Getting Fired When Collecting Unemployment Benefits

Whether you're laid off or fired, the pain of getting let go from a job carries the same weight. But the unemployment relief you can receive afterward differs.

The money used to fund unemployment benefits comes from a federal unemployment insurance tax that employers pay into. There are legal differences between getting fired and laid off in regards to unemployment benefits.

When an employee is terminated involuntarily and the conditions surrounding their termination was due to budgetary reasons and no fault of their own, they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. But, if a worker is fired because of misconduct or poor job performance, usually they do not qualify for unemployment benefits. However, some state unemployment agencies allow workers who were involuntarily let go to voice their claim in collecting unemployment compensation - even if the employer fired them.

When a laid off worker is granted unemployment benefits, on average the weekly payment is 36 percent of their weekly wage. In most states, the benefits usually last for about 26 weeks unless an extension is granted.

To learn if you qualify for benefits following an involuntary termination, contact your state unemployment office.

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