The criteria for calculating unemployment benefits varies by state, but a common formula is to pay half of the worker's former wage up to a designated limit, says Nolo. Alternatively, a worker may use the unemployment calculator at FileUnemployment.org to obtain an estimate according to his state of residence and his wages. This website also lists general eligibility requirements and other information regarding unemployment. However, the actual benefit amount may vary from the estimate.
Eligibility requirements include having earned qualifying wages, being unemployed due to factors beyond the worker's control, being able to work full-time and actively seeking full-time employment, says FileUnemployment.org. Other issues that may influence eligibility are illness or injury, inclusion in a labor dispute or strike, alien status or school attendance. Most states allow a worker to receive unemployment for a maximum of 26 weeks. However, during periods of high unemployment, the federal government may provide funding to extend the length of time a person can remain on unemployment, states Nolo.
If a person finds temporary work, his benefits may be reduced by those earnings, but he still qualifies for unemployment unless it is a permanent job, according to Nolo. The worker must report all earnings to his state unemployment agency, so it can determine whether to adjust the benefit amount.