Unemployment benefits are benefits offered to workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own and who meet the requirement set out by their state law, the U.S. Department of Labor explains. Each state has different criteria established in order for a worker to meet the eligibility for unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor website provides information for individuals who have questions regarding unemployment benefits, the Department explains. The page also provides workers direct links to each state's unemployment pages to determine if they are eligible and may apply for benefits.
Employees who are laid off or lose their employment status for reasons other than misconduct or those who quit for good usually meet the criteria to receive unemployment benefits, reports Nolo. Employees who were let go because of stealing or those who lost their job due to violation of safety rules generally don't qualify for unemployment benefits. Employees fired for poor performance of their job may qualify for benefits.
Most states require that the applicant provide proof that he is looking for employment while he receives unemployment benefits. Benefits are usually calculated as a percentage of the employee's past earnings and are paid weekly for up to 26 weeks, according to Nolo.