Louisiana Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Discover how Louisiana unemployment benefits and eligibility work, including how to file a claim and how to maintain your unemployment benefit eligibility.

Unemployment insurance benefits in Louisiana are handled by the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor. The scheme is funded by taxation on employers instead of employee contributions. Understanding how Louisiana unemployment benefits and eligibility work can help you determine if you qualify and simplify the application process. 

People who find themselves temporarily unemployed or working reduced hours through circumstances outside their control can receive unemployment insurance support, provided their previous earnings exceeded a mandatory threshold and they meet various eligibility criteria. 

How Do I File for Weekly Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

To make a new claim, you'll need to gather as much information as possible to help the Louisiana Workforce Commission determine your eligibility. This includes:

  • Your Social Security (U.S. citizens) or Alien Registration (non-U.S. citizens) number
  • Information about your previous employers, including start and end dates and contact details
  • DD-214 Member Copy 4 paperwork for ex-military personnel
  • SF-8 form for ex-federal government employees

You can apply for Louisiana unemployment insurance benefits and manage ongoing claims through the HiRE (Helping Individuals Reach Employment) website or by calling 1-866-783-5567. The HiRE service assigns claimants a designated call-in day according to the last 4 digits of their Social Security number, and you can find your designated day here

If you need help filing a claim, your local Job Center or State Employment Office can help. You can find your nearest branch on the careeronestop.org website. 

How Do Louisiana Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility Work?

Before you apply for unemployment insurance benefits in Louisiana, it's worth checking whether you're likely to qualify. Eligibility is based on your previous earnings and various other factors relating to the circumstances around your unemployment. If you meet the criteria, the quickest way to apply for benefits is online through the HiRE website. However, you can also apply over the phone.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission will then assess your claim using the information you provide. If your claim is successful, the commission will send you a determination letter detailing how much you will receive and when. If your claim is unsuccessful or you disagree with the amount or duration of your benefits payments, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can appeal through the HiRE website or by writing to the Appeals Unit at the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

You'll need to claim benefits every week and report any earnings online or over the phone until you secure regular employment. You'll receive your benefits via a debit card or bank transfer. If you choose to be paid by debit card transfer, you'll be sent a new debit card.

What Are the Requirements to File for Unemployment Benefits in Louisiana?

The state of Louisiana requires benefit claimants to meet monetary and job separation criteria to qualify for financial support. You will need to prove that you have exceeded the earnings threshold during your base period and that your unemployment or reduced hours are not your fault. 

Monetary Eligibility Criteria

The Louisiana Workforce Commission uses your earnings during your base period to determine your monetary entitlement to unemployment benefits. It does so by counting back five financial quarters from the claim date and then adding together your earnings for the first four quarters. 

Claimants must be able to show that they earned at least $1,200 during the qualifying period. In addition, your total base period earnings must equal or exceed 150% of what you were paid in the quarter when you earned the most. 

Job Separation Criteria

You can't claim unemployment benefits if you choose to give up your employment without good reason or your employer dismisses you in circumstances that were your fault. 

There is no exhaustive list of circumstances in which the Louisiana Workforce Commission will consider acceptable. However, you're likely to be successful if you have been temporarily or permanently laid off for reasons outside your control, such as your employer's business shutting down. Claimants who left their jobs will also be considered if they left due to bullying or harassment, were subject to dangerous working positions or developed a health condition that made remaining in their role impossible. 

Do I Have to Look for Work While Claiming Louisiana Unemployment Benefits?

Even if you initially meet the Louisiana unemployment benefits criteria, you will need to actively seek work to maintain eligibility. You should be ready to start work as soon as it's offered to you and engage with any support you're provided with to help you find a job. You'll be expected to contact at least three potential employers every week and accept any job offer you're made unless you can prove it's unsuitable. 

Claim assessors will expect to see evidence of the steps you've taken to secure employment. Therefore, you should keep detailed records of your job search and retain any correspondence with potential employers to prove your activities. 

The coronavirus pandemic has led to many workers being temporarily laid off or having their hours reduced. If your employer has given you a fixed date to resume your usual hours, you may not need to look for a new job in the interim.

Why Was My Application for Louisiana Unemployment Benefits Denied?

The most common reason that Louisiana unemployment applications are denied is failure to meet the eligibility criteria. You won't be deemed eligible if you didn't earn enough in your base period, left your job voluntarily or gave your employer reasonable cause to dismiss you. Your application will also be denied if you are participating in a labor strike or already receive benefits from another state. 

Once your benefits payments start, your claim could still be denied at a later date. If the Louisiana Workforce Commission discovers that you fraudulently misrepresented your circumstances to get benefits, your payments will stop. You may also lose eligibility if you fail to show evidence that you're looking for a job or don't participate in supportive activities designed to help you get back into work. 

How Much Money Will I Receive on Louisiana Unemployment Benefits?

Louisiana pays unemployment benefits claimants between $10 and $247 per week for a maximum of 26 weeks. The total amount is calculated based on your wages received during the base period.

The maximum claim period may be extended during periods of unusually high unemployment. For example, Louisiana allowed people to receive benefits for more than 26 weeks under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation scheme. 

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