Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits: Minimum Earnings in Base Period

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Previously, we discussed the general criteria that must be met in order to be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. This post is the third in a series of four in-depth articles about each criteria.

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have a minimum amount of wages earned in you base period. Your “base period” is the first four complete quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim. Quarters begin January, April, July and October. You must have been paid wages in at least two quarters of your base period and earned at least $3,400 total in your entire base period. Your total base period wages must be at least one and a half times the highest wages earned in any quarter.

For example, if you file a claim in October 2014, your “base period” is from July 2013 to June 2014. Assume that between July 2013 and September 2013 you earned $4,800 and between January 2014 and March 2014 you earned $3,840. You would be eligible for unemployment benefits because you earned wages in two quarters of your based period in excess of $3400 and your total base period earnings are $8,640, which is more than one and a half times the wages you earned in your highest quarter. (i.e $4800+$3840=$8640. $4800 multiplied by 1.5 is only $7200)

Currently, your weekly benefit amount is calculated by dividing the earnings in your highest base period quarter by 26, however, your weekly benefit will always be between $32 and $275. For the example above, your weekly benefit would be $184.62.

Keep in mind, it costs you nothing to apply for unemployment benefits, so if you feel you are entitled to receive them, there is no reason not to apply. In the event you are denied benefits, but you meet all of the criteria, you might consider seeking the assistance Wilson McCoy, PA in representing you during your unemployment appeal hearing.