To Quit Your Job With the Ability to Collect Unemployment Benefits 

Can you collect unemployment if you quit your job?

The question itself is insufficient from my point of view to answer with anything other than .. "Yes, it may be possible to collect unemployment insurance benefits, if you can meet your burden and prove your voluntary quit was due to reasons attributable to the work, or the employer".

But ... there's always going to be buts to think about because you connected the possibility of benefits to quitting a job and that alone is why some of you considering leaving a job right now .. first need to consider your rights as an employee .. as a possible way to preserve your job.

Good Cause to Quit Your Job is In Proving Details

Having proof of good cause is literally, up to you the employee who accepted unemployment's burden to prove .. when you quit.

After the fact is for most, too late to now acquire proof of your efforts to preserve your job.

This means even if you were to ask for my help as a coach, I would need to advance that initial question and consider not only the affects of varying unemployment laws about quitting a job with good cause, but consider the way decisions have interpret the intent of those laws to explain what creates good cause to resign and collect unemployment .. to know if you have an argument capable of shifting the responsibility (the fault) of your choice to quit .. to an employer.

Need an example of why the burden of proof is important to consider before you become unemployed?

Let's say your employer has offered an ultimatum to quit, or be fired.  

"If you voluntarily quit now and give us a resignation letter, we won't need to fire you".

Why would your employer make such a generous offer?  

Granted, it may be a kindness to your resume and future job hunt, but from my perspective .. you must consider whether it's an unemployment insurance strategy, one that often results with an employee writing a glowing and thankful for the opportunities piece of evidence for the employer that effectively shifts the burden to prove good cause to quit .. with a resignation letter that leaves you helpless to prove you were literally fired.

That letter, if not written to explain the real circumstances of a quit in lieu of termination is your unemployment benefit undoing .. even if the employer might not of been able to meet their burden to prove misconduct.

Your resignation letter might also become relevant should you file some other official employment law complaint that may of been the root of the problem they wanted you gone. 

Newsflash:  For purposes of adjudicating fault in unemployment law, a voluntary quit in lieu of being terminated is to be adjudicated as a discharge for misconduct .. therefore, the employer's burden to prove you at fault once at an unemployment hearing.

Common Reasons to Quit Your Job .. Possibly With Good Cause

DOLETA's Non-Monetary Unemployment Law Comparison Charts addresses many common, good cause reasons people leave their jobs .. state by state, however, any government usually leaves it up to you to also figure out how you will go about documenting to create evidence good cause existed at the time you did quit.

Within the comparison charts is where you can further explore what is meant by "voluntarily quitting must be attributable to the work, or employment .. state by state.

More About Good Cause to Quit Your Job

The problem with proving any workplace story that leads someone to quit their job is .. it's just a story until there is proof.  

Of course we shouldn't  forget there are ways to make a truthful, or untruthful story sound credible .. and that's when evidence, or proof really does come in handy for winning the first unemployment hearing .. almost guaranteed to occur if you quit your job and initially collect unemployment benefits.

Questions About Quitting

More Unemployment Q&As

Were Your Force to Quit in Lieu of Being Fired?

Coaching for Employees


What DOLETA Tells Us About Quitting a Job

VOLUNTARILY LEAVING WORK—Since the UI program is designed to compensate wage loss due to lack of work, voluntarily leaving work without good cause is an obvious reason for disqualification from benefits. All states have such provisions. In most states, disqualification is based on the circumstances of separation from the most recent employment. These disqualification provisions may be phrased in terms such as “has left his most recent work voluntarily without good cause.” In a few states, the agency looks to the causes of all separations within a specified period. An individual who is not disqualified for leaving work voluntarily with good cause is not necessarily eligible to receive benefits. For example, if the individual left because of illness or to take care of a family member who is ill, the individual may not be able to work or available for work. This ineligibility would generally last only until the individual was again able and available.

Voluntarily Leaving—In all states, individuals who leave their work voluntarily must have good cause if they are not to be disqualified.

In many states, good cause is explicitly restricted to good cause connected with the work, attributable to the employer, or involving fault on the part of the employer. However, in a state where good cause is not explicitly linked to the work, the state may interpret its law to include good personal cause or it may limit it to good cause related to work. Since a state law limiting good cause to the work is more restrictive, it may contain specific exceptions that are not necessary in states recognizing good personal cause. (For example, an explicit provision not disqualifying an individual who quits to accompany a spouse to a new job might not be necessary in a state that recognizes good personal cause; it would be necessary in a state restricting good cause to that related to the work.) The following table identifies states that restrict good cause for quitting to reasons connected to the work.