Disqualifying factors for unemployment compensation

Even if you meet all of the requirements to be covered for unemployment insurance, you may still be disqualified for a variety of reasons. The list below is a summary of the most common reasons that a covered employee would still be denied benefits.

Employees who are excluded from unemployment insurance

Certain types of employees are not covered by unemployment insurance. This usually includes people who work on small farms, those who are paid only through commission, casual domestic workers, babysitters, newspaper carriers under 18, children employed by their parents, adults employed by their spouses, employees of religious organizations, some corporate officers and elected officials.

Disqualifying behavior

Fired from your job for deliberate and repeated misconduct

Here are some the behaviors that will get you disqualified under this category:

  • Chronic absence or tardiness
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Violating clear and reasonable workplace rules

It is not enough that you were careless or negligent or even used poor judgment; the misconduct must have been purposeful. Additionally, unless it was very serious the misconduct must also have occurred more than once.

You refused to accept a similar job without good reason

Courts are particularly unlikely to grant you benefits if you turned down a job offer without a very good reason. Some of the reasons that courts will accept for turning down a perfectly good job offer:

  • You were not physically able to do the required job
  • The job was too far from your home or family
  • The job would have required you to violate a firmly held religious belief, such as working on days that your religion prohibits you to work on

You quit your job without a good reason

Disputes over unemployment insurance often occur in this area. If you quit your job for a valid enough reason you may still be entitled to benefits. However, this area can be quite complicated and usually requires legal assistance in order to obtain benefits. For more on this area check out some of our future posts or do some research on your own.


Even if you qualify to be covered for unemployment benefits, you may still be disqualified for other reasons. Some employees are actually exempt from the insurance entirely, of they engage in misconduct, refused to accept a similar job or quit their job without good reason. These rules vary from state to so be sure to check with your jurisdiction to determine the rules there. If you are located in or around Western Pennsylvania please contact Kraemer, Manes and Associates if you were denied benefits and believe that you should not have been.