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Unemployment Benefits Eligibility
General Benefits Eligibility Criteria
You will need to meet both wages and eligibility criteria to qualify for unemployment benefits. These criteria help to ensure that only people who need unemployment receive it.
Work Eligibility Criteria
Your eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits in Nebraska will vary, depending on your base period earnings. Your base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters prior to the date you filed your initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits. Generally, it is necessary to work for at least six months to qualify for unemployment benefits. This period is adjusted every year.
How you became separated from employment will determine your eligibility to qualify. For example, if you are fired for misconduct or criminal behavior, it is likely that you will not qualify. This will depend on the severity of the misconduct and may be appealed. If you quit your job, rather than got fired or laid off, you are also likely ineligible for unemployment. However, if you quit your job due to serious health concerns or to escape spousal abuse, unemployment benefits are available.
Wages Eligibility Criteria
In Nebraska, the current minimum base period earning requirement is $4,107.61. This means that you must earned at least that much during your base, or alternate base period. You must have earned at least $1,850 in one quarter and $800 in another.
The best way to gauge if you are eligible is to simply apply for unemployment insurance benefits. There are no penalties for applying if you don't qualify. Creating an unemployment account, as mentioned above, will give you quick and easy access to this information and it should take no more than an hour to finish an application.
If you are not sure whether your work is insured employment, you should file a claim and request weekly benefits. A wage investigation will be conducted to determine if you are eligible to receive benefits.
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Unemployment Availability Limits
When you file for unemployment insurance in Nebraska, you could be eligible to receive benefits for up to 26 weeks. During this period, you must be actively searching for work. If you fail to report your work search on the NeWorks site, you will lose benefits for that week. This doesn't mean your unemployment has been canceled and you may still receive benefits for other weeks, so long as you report your work search efforts.
Your unemployment benefits will also be unavailable if you accept a full-time position and will be decreased when you accept a part-time job. Failure to accept a suitable job position when one is offered or to accept a referral from the Nebraska Department of Labor Employment Service will cause your benefits to be canceled for 12 weeks. After this period is up, you may end up with decreased maximum weekly benefits.
When working a part-time job while accepting an unemployment claim, you are allowed to earn up to 25 percent of your Weekly Benefit Amount without losing any unemployment benefits. For example, if you receive $300 per week, you can make $75 without losing benefits. If you make any more, you will lose benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
For example, if you make an extra $125 a week while receiving $300 per week from unemployment, you would subtract 75 from 125 (50) and would lose that amount from your Weekly Maximum Benefit of $300 to end up with $250. You are still coming out ahead with a combined $375 per week, but you must report these wages or end up losing benefits or have to repay received benefits.
Currently, there are no provisions for unemployment extensions in Nebraska. In times of severe unemployment, such as what occurred during the economic recession starting in 2008, federal programs often step in to extend benefits. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits served this purpose until they were discontinued in the state in 2012.