Unemployment Benefits Eligibility

To receive unemployment benefits, you must meet the Alabama unemployment insurance benefits eligibility criteria. These criteria include both active and passive conditions. The following criteria will determine if you may qualify for Alabama unemployment insurance compensation. The best way, however, to find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefits is to apply. There are no penalties for submitting an application that is subsequently denied, so long as all of the information you provide is true and accurate.

General Benefits Eligibility Criteria

Work Eligibility Criteria

You must meet the following work eligibility criteria to qualify for Alabama unemployment insurance benefits:

  • Able to work
  • Seeking full-time work
  • Willing to accept suitable work
  • Out of work through no fault of your own
  • If you have been fired or laid off, your former employer must prove you have been fired due to a work-related issue in accordance with Alabama UC Law
  • If you quit your job voluntarily, you must show that you quit for a valid, work-related reason

Wages Eligibility Criteria

You must meet the following wages eligibility criteria to qualify for Alabama unemployment benefits:

  • Your gross weekly earnings must be $265 per week or less.
  • You must provide evidence that you earned wages for at least the first six months of a 12-month base period. Alabama’s base period begins 18 months prior to filing for unemployment benefits.
  • If you work for cash or received a 1099, your eligibility may be affected. In most cases, self-employment is not deemed eligible to collect unemployment insurance. For more information, call 1-855-234-2856 for help with filing a claim or email TipHotline@labor.alabama.gov

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Unemployment Availability Limits

Alabama claimants are eligible to collect benefits a maximum of 26 weeks during a claim year. A claim year is the 52-week period preceding the date you filed your initial claim for unemployment insurance.

You are not eligible for unemployment compensation if you have either Separation or Non –Separation Eligibility Issues. Non-separation issues include failure to meet any of the above eligibility criteria. In addition, you’ll become ineligible if you:

  • Refuse a reasonable offer of work
  • Become unavailable or unable to work
  • Are not actively looking for work
  • Are a regular, full-time student in high school or college. If you can change your hours of college attendance to accommodate a full-time job, you may be eligible for benefits.
  • Fail to participate in fact-finding, profile, or eligibility interviews
  • Fail to register with the Employment Service

Separation issues include:

  • Voluntary termination without good cause related directly to work. Personal reasons like transportation issues or changing residence are not considered good cause.
  • Termination for misconduct in the workplace. Being late, not showing up for work, safety issues, disregard for company policies, and committing criminal acts are all justifiable reasons for termination of employment and do not qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • Labor disputes. Participants of strikes, protests and other labor disputes are not eligible for the time they were unemployed due to the dispute.

Unemployment Extensions

There are currently no extensions available for unemployment insurance benefits in the state of Alabama. During times of high unemployment, Alabama offers extended benefits for people who have reached the maximum 26-week benefit period. The Department of Labor will announce the beginning and ending dates of any unemployment benefit extensions through media outlets when they are made available.