Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance in Connecticut

A resident’s eligibility for unemployment in Connecticut is based on several factors. Workers questioning, “What are the requirements to get unemployment?” will find that the Connecticut Department of Labor has many conditions for potential beneficiaries. The Department of Labor is charged with administering the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program and is responsible for assessing the eligibility of all applicants for unemployment benefits. A clear understanding of the considerations and qualifications that impact unemployment insurance eligibility in Connecticut can assist workers in making informed decisions about employment and educational opportunities in advance or in response to unexpected circumstances. Employers, too, benefit from a solid grasp on unemployment law and its variables. Qualifications for unemployment are influenced by employer decisions and the care with which they complete, file and submit documentation related to an employee’s separation or termination. When all parties are familiar with basic unemployment eligibility regulations, applications for benefits can be processed easily and without the need for later revisions.

Who qualifies for unemployment in Connecticut?

Workers seeking to understand how to qualify for unemployment in Connecticut can begin by looking at two primary factors. The first factor for eligibility for EDD that determines a worker’s eligibility for benefits is the reason for their separation or termination from their most recent employer. Workers are only eligible for unemployment insurance if they find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own. Workers who are still employed but working severely reduced hours through no fault of their own may also qualify for unemployment benefits. The second key factor in eligibility for EDD is a worker’s employment history. Specifically, Connecticut requires that applicants demonstrate that they worked in the state for the preceding year to year-and-a-half and that their earnings from that work meet income minimum limits.

Potential applicants who meet these two criteria for Connecticut unemployment eligibility will then be assessed on supplemental factors that the Department of Labor also considers relevant and important. Supplemental requirements to receive unemployment benefits include being physically and mentally capable of working full time. Exceptions and accommodations may be made for unemployed workers with documented and qualifying chronic physical or mental health conditions that preclude them from working full time but who are willing and able to hold appropriate part-time employment. In addition to being available to work, unemployed workers are required to actively pursue new, full-time employment through documentable employment search activities on a weekly basis. To remain qualified for unemployment benefits, applicants who are approved to receive unemployment insurance payments will need to register with the American Job Center and cooperate with and engage in all reemployment, education and training services and programs to which they are assigned by the Department of Labor.

To learn more about getting unemployment benefits, potential applicants can download our detail unemployment guide here.

Who does not qualify for unemployment benefits in Connecticut?

Workers in Connecticut are not eligible for EDD benefits if they were terminated from their employment or suspended without pay for cause. Workers do not typically meet unemployment eligibility qualifications if they are been fired, but exceptions can exists if the employee can prove unfair or illegal termination. For example, employees who engaged in an illegal strike, committed or participated in a felony during the term of their employment, committed larceny of goods or services valued at $25 dollars or more are not eligible for unemployment benefits. Workers do not qualify for unemployment benefits if they failed legally mandated drug or alcohol tests that were required to remain employed in their previous position. Workers will also fail to meet the requirements to get unemployment benefits if they committed willful misconduct at their place of employment. Willful misconduct includes, but is not limited to, knowingly and purposefully violating safety or policy standards, failing to abide by company absenteeism regulations or intentionally acting against the best interests of their former employers. If an applicant believes they were wrongfully denied eligibility for unemployment payments, they may begin the appeals process to dispute the rejection.

Workers’ eligibility for unemployment in Connecticut can be revoked or discontinued if they voluntarily quit from their place of employment without qualifying cause. Examples of qualifying causes that may be eligible for unemployment benefits include unsafe working conditions, a breach of contract on the part of the former employer, or substantial and negative alterations to the conditions of a worker’s employment. Workers may also be considered to have a qualifying separation that allows eligibility for Connecticut EDD benefits if they were forced to leave their previous employment due to a health or medical condition that was strongly negatively impacted by the work itself or the work environment at their former place of employment. In rare cases, unemployed workers may also qualify for unemployment if they were forced to leave their former jobs as a result of significant and qualifying extenuating life circumstances. This may include shouldering the burden of care for an immediate family member with a serious illness or disabling condition or leaving their employment to break ties to a domestic violence situation.

Workers who voluntarily quit their jobs for cause should not expect automatic eligibility for EDD from the DOL benefits solely on the weight of their testimony as to the underlying causes of their voluntary separations. Instead, they can expect to need to meet additional requirements to get unemployment benefits such as requests for documentation and participation in an eligibility hearing prior to eligibility approval. Generally speaking, workers completing the unemployment application process will be required to prove that they took clear and proactive steps to address and resolve any problems with their employment with their employers prior to quitting. Eligibility for unemployment in these special circumstances may also be contingent on a worker’s ability to document the health condition of the family member in need of care or their own health condition and how it was unavoidably worsened by their job or workplace.

Workers who were terminated or who voluntarily separated from their last place of employment for any reason may be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if they fail to meet the income-eligibility requirements. This may result from having worked in Connecticut for less than a year or from having worked in state for a qualifying amount of time but having failed to earn the minimum income required to be eligible for benefits. Potential applicants can learn more about unemployment eligibility conditions by downloading our comprehensive guide here.