Can I get unemployment benefits if I quit my job? – Section 402(b)

P - street red busSection 402(b) of the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law applies to those individuals who voluntarily quit their jobs. You, typically with the help of an employment attorney,  can attempt to claim unemployment compensation (“UC”) benefits under 402(b) if you chose to quit your job.

Criteria Necessary for Securing UC Eligibility under Section 402(b)

  • You have a real and substantial cause for quitting
  • The cause was “necessitous and compelling” in nature
  • You can prove that there was no other alternative
  • You made an attempt to preserve the employer-employee relationship
  • You are able and available for suitable work

Common Voluntary Quit Situations

  1. If you have health problems, you must inform your employer so that he or she can offer suitable accommodations. You must be able and available to work with those accommodations. If your employer fails to offer suitable work, you may be eligible for UC benefits.
  2. If you lose your means of transportation, you must prove it is through no fault of your own and that you have attempted to secure other transportation before quitting. If you are able and available for suitable work, consistent with your limitations, you may be eligible for UC benefits.
  3. If your spouse relocates for work and you plan to leave your job to follow him or her, you must be able to show that the relocation was out of your control. Additionally, you must show that the economic circumstances it created could not be overcome. For example, you can show that your financial situation could not allow you to maintain two residences.
  4. Certain personal circumstances may leave you with no reasonable alternative besides quitting. If you can prove this, prove that you attempted to maintain the employer-employee relationship, and are able and available for suitable work, you may be eligible for UC benefits.
  5. If you quit to attend school, you will only be eligible for UC benefits under certain circumstances. The school or training must be provided under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and you must prove that the job you quit was not suitable (i.e., of a substantially equal or higher skill level than past “adversely affected employment”) and that wages of such work are not less than 80% of your average weekly wage.
  6. If you quit due to unsuitable work, you have to prove that the conditions of employment changed after you were hired, making the job unsuitable or that there was deception by your employer in those terms and conditions. After all, you agreed to the initial terms and conditions of employment when you were hired. If the job you quit is found to be, in fact, unsuitable work, you may be eligible for UC benefits.
  7. If the job you quit was not what you expected you may be eligible for UC benefits. For example, if you are told you could make $60,000 per year on commission selling a product, and you make no sales in the first three weeks, you may be eligible since the monetary expectations were not fulfilled through no fault of your own.

In each of these scenarios, you, the claimant, hold the burden of proof. It is up to you to prove a “necessitous and compelling” reason for quitting. To be sure your case is sound and that you meet all criteria for UC eligibility, it is to your advantage to contact an employment attorney.