To Quit Your Job and Collect Unemployment Benefits 

If you believe you should quit your job rather than be fired for the sake of your resume, you're probably right.

But if you're going to make this choice .. why not make it being informed should you also decide to apply for unemployment benefits.

Consider the decision to quit a job, within the context of how unemployment benefits work when it comes to voluntarily quitting any at-will employment with, or without the good merits to also collect unemployment after an unemployment appeal hearing designed to fully explore your burden of having good cause attributable to the work, or the employer.



Nearly all employees in the United States work at-will. 

We enjoy the same minimal protections federal employment laws offer to employees in every state .. even if we don't exercise those rights to help ourselves and improve the chance we'll be able to meet the burden of getting unemployment benefits when an employer isn't exactly in compliance with those same laws.

However, we then often apply for unemployment insurance benefits, but ignore the fact that makes us .. the moving party with the burden of proof  ours in case we are forced into sustaining good cause at a hearing.

In most states, the baseline for having good cause is to prove your reason for leaving was for fault attributable to the employer.

Generally, good cause must be not only attribute the reason to the work, or the employer, but when good cause is allowed for personal reasons, it's reasonable that to prove why your choice to quit is of such a compelling and necessitous nature, you still may need to prove your exhaustive efforts to preserve your job, by trying to get an employer to work with you.

DOLETA's Non-Monetary Unemployment Law Comparison Charts addresses many common, good cause reasons people leave their jobs .. state by state.

It's where I found the following ...


Do I Have Good Cause to Quit My Job and Collect Unemployment?


The problem with proving any workplace story to also be the facts that shows the fault for quitting should be placed on the work, or an employer, begins before you quit your job.

There is a myth based on the problem .. that you cannot collect benefits when you quit.

And it's grown to include another erroneous assumption that to collect unemployment you have to be fired, or laid off.

I hear stories about putting forth efforts with the  intent to preserve the job, but these are usually based on verbal conversations with no sign of evidence that can help to corroborate the credibility of the story while it's told at an unemployment hearing.

Your problem with proving good cause is what makes the following example ER appeal letter perfect for when someone does manage to collect unemployment after quitting.

The claimant voluntarily quit for personal reasons unknown to the employer.  Please see attached resignation letter we wish to submit as evidence for the hearing. 

All state unemployment laws clearly disagree because all mention good cause to quit, but the law doesn't care about our emotional stories but factual testimony supported by evidence because that is what makes it's job easier to decide.

As an employee you're assumed to know that to blame an employer for your choice to quit, the law expects you to put forth efforts to resolve any problem and work with the employer to preserve .. preserve .. preserve your job.

Which leads to what employees need to do .. document .. document.. document their efforts.

If employers know it's important to build document walls that promote the idea of employee fault for a discharge when an employer has the burden.. why haven't more employees grasped and pursued the basic idea of documenting, documenting, documenting, for their own benefits before they quit .. and file for benefits?

Questions About Quitting

More Unemployment Q&As

Were Your Force to Quit in Lieu of Being Fired?

Coaching for Employees

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Here's how DOLETA's State by State Unemployment Comparison Charts explains your burden to voluntarily quit your job with good cause. 

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.