Are you recently out of a job? If so, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits are available to workers who are laid off, quit for qualifying reasons, or are fired for some reason other than misconduct. Although the general structure of unemployment compensation is similar across the country, each state has its own rules on eligibility, benefit amounts, duration, and more. This article explains how unemployment works in Nebraska.
In nearly all states, you must meet the following three requirements in order to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits:
Nearly all states use a one-year “base period” to determine whether you’ve earned enough in wages to qualify for unemployment. The Nebraska Department of Labor (DOL), the agency that administers unemployment benefits, will look to the five quarters immediately preceding your claim. The first four out of those five quarters is considered the base period. For example, if you file your claim in July of 2018, your base period will be April of 2017 to March of 2018. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period.)
To meet the earnings requirement, you must have earned at least $4,145.74 during the entire base period, with at least $1,850 earned in one quarter and at least $800 earned in another quarter.
One of the most disputed issues between employers and employees is whether the employee is out of work through no fault of his or her own. Like most other states, Nebraska treats layoffs, terminations, and voluntary resignations differently.
To be eligible for unemployment, you must be able and available to perform work on at least four days out of the week. You must also be actively searching for work, which includes making at least two job contacts each week and keeping an online log of your work search activities. The Nebraska DOL may audit your work search log to verify your efforts. (See Nolo's article, Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work? for more information on these requirements.)
If you’re offered suitable employment, you must accept it. Whether a job is suitable depends on what’s typical in your occupation in terms of hours, wages, commuting distance, and the skill and training required. If you turn down a suitable job offer, you will be disqualified from receiving benefits for 12 weeks.
Unemployment benefits in Nebraska are 50% of your average weekly wage from your highest paid quarter, up to a maximum weekly amount of $408 (in 2017). Benefits are available for 26 weeks or until you've received one-third of your base period wages, whichever is less.
You can file your unemployment claim online by going to the Nebraska Department of Labor website and selecting “File a Claim.” You will be eligible for benefits as of the date that you file your claim, so it’s important to file as soon as you are out of work. Once you file your initial claim, you will need to continue to file a claim each for week for which you are requesting benefits. You may also be required to register for employment services with Nebraska Works.
Once the DOL receives your claim, it will send you some documents, including a Monetary Determination indicating your weekly benefit amount if you meet all other eligibility requirements.
If your claim for unemployment is denied, you have 20 days to appeal the decision with the Nebraska Appeal Tribunal. Your request must be in writing, but can be completed by mail, fax, or online at dol.nebraska.gov.
Once the Appeal Tribunal receives your request, it will schedule a hearing. Hearings are informal and conducted by telephone. The Tribunal will mail a written decision to the parties. If you disagree with the Tribunal’s decision, you may appeal through the Nebraska state court system.
For more information on the Nebraska unemployment process, visit the Nebraska DOL’s website.