Clarifying Conditions for Nonmonetary Eligibility in the Unemployment Insurance System

This Article explores the nonmonetary eligibility requirements that unemployed individuals must meet in order to receive Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. These eligibility criteria, which are decided by the states, vary significantly. Because states often have relatively vague statutes regarding their specific nonmonetary eligibility criteria, state rules, regulations, and case law interpret these statutes and better define the criteria. The author discusses the results of a recent survey of UI nonmonetary eligibility criteria which provides information on the status of criteria across the nation than has been available previously. The author concludes that policy reform in this area should be focused on (1) clarifying and distributing these eligibility conditions for the benefit of unemployed individuals and employers, and (2) reviewing and revising eligibility conditions to be more responsive to individuals who have a significant attachment to the labor force but whose work and family situations necessitate their job separations.