Kansas Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • You can apply for Kansas unemployment benefits through the Kansas Department of Labor if you're out of work. Learn how to claim and who's eligible for support.

The Kansas Department of Labor deals with unemployment benefits applications and payments. To receive Kansas unemployment benefits, you'll need to meet both monetary and job separation eligibility criteria. Understanding how ongoing eligibility works can help you maintain your payments while searching for a new job.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Kansas?

You must meet the state's minimum earning requirements to claim Kansas unemployment benefits. Claimants must also demonstrate that they're unemployed for reasons that aren't their fault and search for re-employment.

Monetarily Entitlement

The DOL uses a base period to determine if your previous earnings are high enough to claim benefits. Kansas uses the same base period as most other states, comprising the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters.  

You are monetarily entitled to receive Kansas unemployment benefits if you received wages in at least two base period quarters. Your overall earnings must also equal or exceed your weekly benefit amount (WBA) multiplied by 30. 

Work Separation

Generally, you need to be fully unemployed to claim Kansas unemployment benefits. However, the DOL may consider your application if your usual working hours were reduced and you now earn less per week than your WBA.

The DOL will consider your reasons for work separation before it awards or denies your claim. The state's unemployment program is for people who are out of work through no fault of their own, so you may qualify if you're laid-off or your company ceases trading. However, the following circumstances may make you ineligible for benefits:

  • Taking a leave of absence
  • Quitting voluntarily, unless you can prove you resigned for a compelling reason relating to your work
  • Being fired for misconduct or gross misconduct

Ability to Work

Claimants must be physically and mentally capable of working in their usual industry. Therefore, you can't claim benefits if you have a physical or mental illness that prevents you from performing typical workplace tasks, such as lifting or bending. The DOL is likely to reject your claim, unless there's a type of work that you can reasonably perform.

Availability to Work

The DOL will expect you to accept a suitable job offer as soon as possible while claiming Kansas unemployment benefits. Therefore, you'll lose eligibility if you're not available to work for part or all of your claim period due to illness, incarceration, vacation or any other reason. Claimants should arrange appropriate transportation and care for any dependents, so they're available to start work immediately.

Work Search Requirement

You must look for a new job while receiving unemployment benefits in Kansas, unless the DOL exempts you from this requirement. You may receive an exemption in several circumstances, such as attending an approved training course that will improve your re-employment potential. 

Claimants must complete two re-employment activities each week, two of which must be job applications. Acceptable re-employment activities include:

  • Accessing re-employment services at your local Workforce Center
  • Attending a job fair
  • Searching for job advertisements
  • Attending a course to help you improve your resume

You must also complete the re-employment plan attached to your determination letter and return it within seven days. You don't need to submit evidence of your job search during your weekly claim, but you may have to provide it if the DOL selects your account for an audit. Therefore, it's essential to keep a re-employment activities record and retain any supporting evidence, such as emails from prospective employers. Failing to provide this information when requested could affect your benefits eligibility. 

You may receive instructions to attend re-employment services at your local Workforce Center, which is designed to help you get back to work. You must attend any re-employment services offered to you, and attendance will contribute to your weekly re-employment activities. If you turn down a suitable job offer, you may lose your benefits entitlement.

How Do You Apply for Kansas Unemployment Benefits?

You can file your initial claim for Kansas unemployment benefits through the DOL's benefits portal or by phone at (800) 292-6333. The DOL generally recommends filing online because the Contact Center line is often busy. However, you'll need to apply over the phone if you're an ex-federal or ex-military employee or earned some of your base period wages out-of-state. 

To file, you'll need to supply some personal information, including your name, mailing address and Social Security number (or employment authorization number for non-U.S. citizens.) You also need to prepare an 18-month work history, including the reasons for leaving each of your employers. 

You should submit a weekly claim to receive your payments. You can file online using your benefits login or by calling the Contact Center number above.

How Much Do You Get From Kansas Unemployment?

The DOL considers your wages from your highest-paid base period quarter to calculate your weekly benefits payments. Your WBA will be 4.25% of these earnings, rounded down to the next whole dollar. The minimum WBA in Kansas is $135, while the most you can receive per week is $540.

You can receive benefits payments for between 16 and 26 weeks per year. How many weeks you can claim depends on your total benefit amount. 

You can work part-time while claiming benefits, although you should continue to look for full-time employment. You must report any wages you earned in the week when you earned them, not the week in which you were paid. Earnings of up to 25% of your WBA won't affect your payments, while earnings exceeding 25% will reduce your payment dollar-for-dollar. You should also report any other income, such as retirement income or severance pay.

You must pay tax on your Kansas unemployment benefits payments. Claimants can ask the DOL to deduct tax from their benefits to make it easier to manage their money.

Typically, you'll receive your benefits payments within 3 working days of submitting your weekly claim. However, any anomalies in your claim may cause a delay. Claimants can decide whether to receive their money via direct deposit or a prepaid debit card.

What Happens if Unemployment Claims in Kansas Are Denied?

You can appeal the DOL's decision within 16 days if you disagree with its determination. Include your full name and the last four digits of your Social Security number, and submit it by email at KDOL.Appeals@ks.gov or fax at (785) 291-6086. You can also appeal in writing to:

Office of Appeals
401 SW Topeka Blvd, 2nd Floor
KS 66603-3182

The Office of Appeals will send you a telephone hearing appointment, and you must register a contact number before your scheduled slot. You should also provide any supporting evidence before your appeal date, and you may present witnesses or have an attorney present.

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