Did you recently lose your job in Kansas? If so, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits: payments intended to partially replace the wages of employees who are temporarily out of work through no fault of their own.
Although the basic rules for unemployment are similar across the board, the eligibility rules, prior earnings requirements, benefit amounts, and other details vary from state to state. Below you’ll find information on collecting unemployment in Kansas.
In Kansas, the Department of Labor (DOL) handles unemployment benefits and determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must meet the following three eligibility requirements in order to collect unemployment benefits in Kansas:
Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. In Kansas, as in most states, the base period is the earliest four of the five complete calendar quarters before you filed your benefits claim. For example, if you file your claim in August of 2019, the base period would be from April 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019.
To qualify for benefits in Kansas, you must have earned:
In Kansas, as in other states, you must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.
If you are laid off, lose your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.
If you were fired because you lacked the skills to perform the job or simply weren't a good fit, you won’t necessarily be barred from receiving benefits. However, if you were fired for misconduct relating to your job, you will be ineligible for benefits. Kansas defines misconduct as violation of a duty or obligation you reasonably owed to your employer as a condition of employment, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs on the job or having more than three unexcused absences from work (after receiving a written warning from the employer).
If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause relating to your work. In general, good cause means that your reason for leaving the position was job-related and was so compelling that you had no other choice than to leave. For example, if you left your job because of dangerous working conditions or sexual harassment that your employer refused to stop, you may be able to collect benefits. You may also be eligible for benefits if you quit for certain compelling personal reasons, including to relocate with a military spouse, to escape domestic violence, due to your own illness or injury (on the advice of your doctor), or due to a personal emergency.
To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. If you’re incarcerated, on vacation, or in school, or you don’t have adequate transportation to get to work, you likely won’t be considered able and available to work.
In Kansas, you must actively search for work each week, keeping a log of your job contacts and other job search activities. You may be selected for an Eligibility Review, in which case you’ll have to provide records of your job search efforts. You must also register at the Kansas Workforce Center.
If you’re offered a suitable position, you must accept it. In Kansas, whether a position is suitable depends on your work experience and earning history, the commuting distance from your house to the job site, the length of your unemployment, and the degree of risk to your health, safety, and morals.
If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your weekly benefit rate will be 4.25% of your wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period. The current maximum (for 2020) is $488 per week; the current minimum is $122. You may receive benefits for between 16 to 26 weeks, depending on the unemployment rate at time you file your claim. (In times of higher unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be available.)
You may file your claim for unemployment benefits online or by phone. You can find online filing information and telephone contact information at the website of the Kansas Department of Labor.
After you file, you will receive an Unemployment Insurance Monetary Determination from the DOL, which will state the wages reported by all of your employers during your base period and provide your weekly benefit amount.
If your unemployment claim is denied, you have 16 days to file an appeal with the Office of Appeals of the Kansas Department of Labor. A hearing will be conducted, by phone or in person, before an Unemployment Insurance Judge. You will be able to present evidence and witness testimony at the hearing. The Judge will then issue a decision.
If you disagree with the Judge’s decision, you may appeal it to the Employment Security Board of Review. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you may file an appeal in state court.
For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the Department of Labor website.