Did you recently lose your job in Wyoming? 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 Wyoming.
In Wyoming, the Department of Workforce Services 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 Wyoming:
Virtually all states look at your recent work history and earnings during a one-year "base period" to determine your eligibility for unemployment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Unemployment Compensation: Understanding the Base Period.) In Wyoming, 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 July of 2015, the base period would be from April 1, 2014, through March 31, 2015.
To qualify for benefits in Wyoming, you must meet both of the following requirements:
In Wyoming, as in other states, you must be out of work through no fault of your own to qualify for unemployment benefits.
Layoffs. If you were laid off, lost your job in a reduction-in-force (RIF), or got "downsized" for economic reasons, you will meet this requirement.
Firing. 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. Misconduct means intentionally disregarding your employer’s interests or the commonly accepted duties, responsibilities, and obligations of an employee. You have not committed misconduct in Wyoming if you were fired for isolated instances of ordinary carelessness, errors in judgment that you made in good faith, or poor performance due to a lack of ability or capacity.
Quitting. If you quit your job, you will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits unless you had good cause. 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 spouse who serves in the military (depending on the circumstances), to escape domestic violence, for certain medical reasons, or to enter certain training programs.
To keep collecting unemployment benefits, you must be able to work, available to work, and looking for employment. (For more information, see Nolo's article, Collecting Unemployment: Are You Able, Available, and Actively Seeking Work?) 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 Wyoming, you must actively search for work each week, keeping a log of your job contacts and other job search activities. You must contact at least two different employers per week. Your log may be audited at any time.
If you’re offered a suitable position, you must accept it. Whether a job is suitable depends on a variety of factors, including your physical fitness, how long you’ve been unemployed, what the local job market looks like in your usual occupation, the length of the commute, whether you're capable of performing the position, and whether the job poses any safety or health risks.
After four weeks of receiving benefits, you will be expected to accept a position outside of your customary occupation, as long as it pays at least 50% of what you used to earn. After 12 weeks, union members will be expected to take nonunion positions in their customary occupations.
If you are eligible to receive unemployment, your weekly benefit rate is 4% of your earnings in the highest paid quarter of the base period. The current maximum is $475 per week; the minimum weekly benefit amount is currently $34. You may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. (In times of very high 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, telephone contact information, forms, and addresses of local offices at the website of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services.
After you file, you will receive a monetary determination from the Department, stating the wages reported by all of your employers during your base period and how much you can expect to receive in benefits.
If your unemployment claim is denied, you have 28 days from the mailing date on the denial to file an appeal. You can mail or fax your appeal to the address listed in the denial letter, or you can file your appeal in person at any Workforce Center in Wyoming.
An unemployment hearing will be conducted, by phone or in person, before a Hearing Officer. You will be able to present evidence and witness testimony at the hearing. The Hearing Officer will then issue a written decision on your appeal.
If you disagree with the Hearing Officer's decision, you may appeal to the Unemployment Insurance Commission (UIC) within 28 days.
For more information on the unemployment process, including current eligibility requirements and benefits amounts, visit the Department of Workforce Services website.