Nebraska Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

In this article...
  • Nebraska unemployment benefits can help with living costs if you're unemployed and it's not your fault. Find out how unemployment benefits in Nebraska work.

Meeting your financial commitments after losing your job can be a real struggle, but some people can claim financial support from the Nebraska Department of Labor (DOL). To receive Nebraska unemployment benefits, you'll need to meet various monetary and non-monetary eligibility requirements. Here's how unemployment benefits work in Nebraska.

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Nebraska?

The DOL considers your previous wages and reasons for unemployment when assessing your benefits eligibility. You may be entitled to benefits if you meet the criteria below. 

Minimum Earnings Requirement

You must meet Nebraska's minimum earnings requirement over your base period to claim unemployment benefits. This base period is the first four of the last five calendar quarters before filing for benefits. The state may allow you to use your earnings over an alternate period — the last four completed calendar quarters — but only if you can't establish eligibility using the standard base period. 

As of 2022, you must show earnings of at least $4,532 from covered employment. Therefore, you can only count wages paid by an employer contributing to the Nebraska unemployment insurance program. You must also have earned at least $1,850 in one quarter and $800 in any other quarter. 

Reasons for Unemployment

The DOL will consider your reasons for unemployment before approving your application for unemployment benefits in Nebraska. You can only receive benefits if your reasons for unemployment are beyond your control.

Therefore, you may be entitled to financial support if you were laid off by your employer, either permanently or temporarily, because of a lack of work. You might also be eligible for partial payments if your employer reduces your working hours to part-time because there isn't enough work for you.

You can't usually receive benefits if you're on an agreed leave of absence, were fired for misconduct or choose to quit your job. However, the state may consider applicants who quit their jobs under compelling circumstances, such as:

  • Escaping spousal abuse
  • Dangerous or unhealthy working conditions
  • Substantial changes to your terms of employment made by your employer
  • A health condition prevents you from carrying out your usual duties safely

Students can't usually claim unemployment benefits. However, you may be eligible if you were already a student during the quarters of your base period when you earned the most. You might also be eligible if you enroll in a training course with approval from the Commissioner of Labor.

Maintaining Eligibility

You can lose your right to receive Nebraska unemployment benefits if you don't meet the state's ongoing eligibility criteria. Most claimants must search for work while claiming benefits. You should try to secure full-time employment if you worked full time during your base period. However, you can search for part-time jobs if your base period earnings are part time. 

You should keep detailed records of your work search and report your reemployment activities with your weekly claim. The DOL expects benefits recipients to report at least five new reemployment contacts unless they have a work search waiver. The department may waive the work search requirement if you are a union hall member, are enrolled in approved training or have a confirmed return date following a temporary layoff. 

You must be available for work for at least 4 days in any week when you receive benefits. The DOL considers you unavailable if you're too sick to work, injured or incarcerated. You must also arrange any necessary childcare and transportation to allow you to accept work immediately. 

You should take any suitable job offer while claiming Nebraska unemployment benefits. The department considers a suitable job offer to be in keeping with your previous experience and qualifications. The role should also offer fair pay and conditions considering the industry and labor market. If you refuse your job and the DOL considers it suitable, it could result in a benefits reduction or a 12-week disqualification. 

How Do You Apply for Nebraska Unemployment Benefits?

You can file a new unemployment benefits claim in Nebraska through the NEworks website. You must also register for reemployment through your NEworks account and upload a current resume unless you have a return-to-work date or hold a union membership. 

Have the following information ready to file your claim:

  • Social Security number
  • Home address and contact details
  • Driver's license or State ID
  • 18-month work record, including start and end dates
  • Reasons for job separation
  • DD 214 Member 4 Form (military personnel)
  • Standard Form 8 or Standard Form 50 (federal government employees)
  • Bank account details

You'll also need to file a weekly claim to request your benefits payments. You can submit weekly claims online through your NEworks account. Provide a record of any earnings received during the week and details of your reemployment contacts. Failing to file your weekly claims could result in late or missed payments. 

How Much Do You Get From Nebraska Unemployment Benefits?

The DOL calculates your weekly benefit amount (WBA) by finding 50% of your average weekly wages during your highest-paid quarter. You can work out what you're likely to get by dividing your highest-quarter earnings by 13 and halving the result. The most you can receive per week is $490

The longest period you can claim benefits per benefit year is 26 weeks. The DOL caps the amount you can receive per year at 26 times your WBA or 1/3 of your total earnings over the base period if this is the lower amount. 

Payment Methods

You can elect to have Nebraska unemployment benefits deposited into your bank account. If you don't choose direct deposit, you will receive a ReliaCard debit card in the mail. The department will load your payments onto the card each week, and you can change your preferred payment method via your NEworks account at any time.

How Long Do Payments Take? 

It can take between 21 and 28 days to receive your first payment after submitting your application. You should continue filing weekly claims while you wait to avoid missed payments. 

Unemployment Benefits and Tax

Nebraska unemployment benefits count as taxable income. You can ask the DOL to withhold tax from your payments to help you keep on top of the tax you owe. Claimants can change their decision to have tax withheld at any time through their NEworks account.

What Happens If Nebraska Unemployment Benefits Are Denied?

If your determination says that you're ineligible for benefits, you can appeal within 20 days of the letter date. The most straightforward way to appeal is online through your NEworks account. However, you can also email your appeal to If you prefer to mail or fax your request, you can send it to:

Nebraska Appeal Tribunal
Nebraska Department of Labor
PO Box 98941
Lincoln, NE 68509

Fax: 402-471-1734

The DOL will consider your appeal and schedule a telephone conference hearing. It's essential to attend the hearing and submit your weekly claims while awaiting the adjudicator's decision.

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