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Unemployment Benefits

The information below is for education and marketing purposes only. In no way it is intended to provide legal advice or create a client-attorney relationship. Should you have a question regarding the content or your situation, please contact a lawyer.


What is Nebraska Unemployment Benefit?

  • The Nebraska Department of Labor (DOL) operates a program called the Nebraska Unemployment Insurance Program. This program collects a special tax from employers who are required to pay for unemployment tax.

Who May be Eligible?

  • U.S. citizens who have earned minimum earnings during the “Base Period.” Base period is the first four of the last five quarters before you file your claim. You must have made $4,324 during the base period. You also must have been paid at least $1,850 in one quarter and $800 in another quarter. Further, these wages must have been earned from employers who are required to pay unemployment insurance tax.

  • For non-citizens to receive unemployment benefits, applicants must establish that they were in satisfactory immigration status and authorized to work in the United States when earning the wages used to establish their claim. When filing for benefits, be prepared to provide your employment authorization number and expiration date.

What Information Do I Need to Gather?

  1. Your:

    1. social security number

    2. mailing address

    3. telephone number

    4. email address

    5. county of residence

    6. Driver’s License number or State ID card number

  2. If you want direct deposit of benefits, provide your bank routing number and account number.

  3. The company names for all your employers from the past 18 months as they appear on your paycheck stubs or W-2 forms.

  4. Mailing addresses for your past employers.

  5. Start and end date of each employment[h1] .

  6. Reasons for leaving each employment.

  7. If you served in the military in the past 18 months, DD 214 Member #4 Form.

  8. If you worked for the federal government as a civilian employee in the past 18 months, Standard Form 8 or Form 50.

How Much Can I Receive?

  • The maximum weekly benefit amount for 2020 is $440. Your individual benefits are calculated by identifying the highest quarter earnings in your base period. That amount is then divided by 13 to arrive at the average weekly wage, then divided again by two and rounded down to the next even dollar amount to arrive at your weekly benefit amount. After your claim has been processed you can view your weekly benefit amount in the Unemployment Services Claim Summary.

  • You will also be advised of your weekly benefit amount when you receive your monetary determination. [Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-624]

When Can I Expect to Receive Benefits? And For How Long?

  • Applications are typically processed within 21 days.

  • If you are determined eligible, you will typically receive payment within 2-3 business days of filing your weekly claim.

  • You may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits during a 12-month period. The maximum amount of unemployment benefits you may receive during your benefit year is 26 times your weekly benefit amount, or 1/3 of your total base period wages, whichever is less. Your maximum amount is calculated after any separation issues are adjudicated and may be reduced when there are separation disqualifications, such as a discharge or quit.

I Was Fired From My Job. Will I Be Eligible?

  • If a person is discharged from a job for misconduct, a disqualification is assessed for the week of the discharge plus 14 weeks, as determined by the Nebraska Department of Labor.  In cases of misconduct, the burden of proof is on the employer.  The employer must prove that an employee was discharged for acts or omissions that 1) damaged the employer's interest in relation to the employment; 2) the employee knew or reasonably should have known were contrary to the employer's interests; and 3) were willful or within the employee's control.  Maximum benefits payable may also be reduced when a disqualification is assessed.  [NESL: 48-628(2)]

  • If a person is discharged for misconduct not considered to be willful and flagrant or unlawful, but which included being under the influence of any intoxicating beverage or being under the influence of any controlled substance not prescribed by a physician licensed to practice medicine or surgery, and when the person is under the influence on the work site or while engaged in work for the employer, then the disqualification includes a cancellation of wages from the employer.  [NESL: 48-628(2)]

  • If a person is discharged due to an act or omission that is willful and flagrant or unlawful, that individual does not qualify for benefits on wages earned prior to the date of the act. [NESL: 48-628(2)]

I Just Quit My Job. Will I Be Eligible?

  •  In Nebraska, good cause for quitting includes (but is not limited to) the conditions of work, compelling health reasons, or quitting to escape spousal abuse. If the Nebraska Department of Labor determines that a person has quit a job without good cause, maximum benefits payable may be reduced when a disqualification is assessed and the disqualified individual will be ineligible for benefits until they meet the following requalification requirements:
    • Returned to insured work,
    • Earned at least four times the claim’s weekly benefit amount, and
    • Separated from the most recent employer under non-disqualifying conditions. [Neb. Rev. Stat 48-628.12]


I Refused a Job Offer. Will I Be Eligible?

  • You may be disqualified for 12 weeks for failing to accept an offer of suitable employment or failure to accept a Nebraska Department of Labor Employment Service referral. Suitability is determined by considering a person’s training and experience and the conditions in the labor market. Maximum benefits payable may also be reduced when a disqualification is assessed. [NESL: 48-628(3)]

Can I Attend School or Training and Receive Benefits?

  •  If you are regularly attending school as a full-time student, you may be disqualified from benefits unless you were a student at the time you earned the majority of the wages in your base period. An exception may apply if you are enrolled in a training program which has been approved by the Commissioner of Labor. [NESL: 48-628(7)]

What If I Am Sick, Injured or Otherwise Unable to Work?

  • You must be able to work four or more days of the week in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. You are not considered able and available if circumstances such as lack of transportation, childcare problems, family care issues, sickness or injury would prevent you from working.  You are not considered available for work if you are in jail four or more days during the week.  Claiming benefits while incarcerated is fraud and may result in criminal prosecution.  [219 NAC 4; NESL: 48-627(3); NESL: 48-663]

What if I'm On a Leave of Absence?

  •  To receive unemployment benefits, you must be completely separated from your employer or working reduced hours. A leave of absence is not a complete separation from employment. As generally defined, a leave of absence is a mutual agreement between the employee and employer. The employee is not separated and does not report for work for a mutually agreed upon time period. The Nebraska Employment Security Law requires a disqualification from benefits for any week in which the individual is on a leave of absence. [NESL: 48-602; NESL: 48-628; 219 NAC 8]

What If I'm a School Employee On a Scheduled Summer Break?

  •  If you are employed for, or on behalf of, an educational institution, benefits (based on wages earned from educational institutions) may be denied between terms and/or during regularly scheduled breaks. [NESL: 48-628(8)]

Where Can I apply?

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