They reduced me to a 24-hour work week, will I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Q) I have been informed by my company that I will likely be laid off soon due to extreme budget cuts. Beginning February 8th, they reduced me to a 24-hour work week and took away my benefits. This is the first time since my early 20s that I have worked part-time (I am 52 years old). I have never filed for unemployment benefits before.

My concern is this: If they keep me on 24-hour work weeks for too long, will I no longer qualify for unemployment benefits? Any information or advice would be greatly appreciated.

A) If your hours have been reduced you can file for unemployment benefits to help fill the gap in your weekly pay. Please call your local unemployment office or apply online for benefits.

Eligibility for Partial Unemployment

Your State laws determines eligibility for unemployment benefits, including partial unemployment benefits. Generally speaking, however, an employee will be eligible for benefits if all of the following are true:
You are underemployed, meaning that you are working part time through no fault of your own. For example, if your company cut the hours of everyone in your department in order to avoid layoffs, you would likely meet this eligibility requirement. You may also be eligible if you lost your full-time job and have only been able to find occasional or limited part-time work. Depending on your state’s rules, you may be eligible for partial benefits if you had two part-time jobs and lost one of them.

However, regardless of how your state determines eligibility for partial benefits, you will not be eligible if you could be working more. For example, if you voluntarily chose to reduce your hours or work part time so you could take care of your children, you would not be eligible. You meet your state’s minimum earnings or minimum hours worked requirements. These are the same whether you apply for regular or partial unemployment benefits. (For information on these requirements, see How Long Must I Be Employed Before Being Eligible for Unemployment?)
You are able and available to work more. In other words, if your hours are cut to ten per week, you won’t be eligible if you decide to go back to school full time and wouldn’t be able to work more hours.

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