Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


When can I get Unemployment Compensation?

  • If you have lost your job or had a major reduction in hours, and
  • You have enough past earnings to qualify for benefits, and
  • You did not lose your job for a disqualifying reason, and
  • You are physically and mentally able to work, and
  • You are available for work, and
  • You are actively looking for work, and
  • You have applied for unemployment compensation.

Where can I apply for Unemployment Compensation?

You cannot apply for benefits in person at an office. You have to call a toll free number, which is 1-866-234-5382. The call may take some time, so:

  • Avoid using a cell phone. The long time could make your call very expensive.
  • Have a comfortable place to sit, because you may have to wait some time to file your claim.
  • Consider calling on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. The phone lines are most busy on Mondays and Tuesdays. But make sure you call by Friday, or you may lose a week of benefits.

When I call, what do I need?

  • A pen or pencil and paper, so you can take notes
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Driver's license, or Alabama ID Number, or Alien Registration Card
  • The address and phone number of your last two employers
  • Your bank account information (if you want your benefit check to be directly deposited to your bank account.) All the information you need is on your checks.
  • A four-digit number that you can give as your Personal Identification Number (PIN). You will need to use your PIN later when you call about your claim. Make sure you can remember it.

How long does it take?

  • You should get something in writing on your claim in seven (7) days.
  • While you are waiting, keep looking for work and reporting your job search.
  • If you do not get a decision in seven days, call to find out why.

When can the Department of Labor deny my claim?

  • You are not working because of a labor dispute at your place of work, or
  • You quit your job without a good work-related reason, or
  • You fail to follow company policy on absence, or
  • You lost your job because of dishonest or criminal conduct at work, such as:
    • Stealing at work
    • Falsifying time cards
    • Assaulting another employee
    • Absence due to jail or prison
    • Refusing to take or flunking a drug test at work
    • An act of deliberate misconduct, repeated after previous warning

What is "minor misconduct"?

  • Something wrong that is not dishonest or criminal, and that you were never warned about. For minor misconduct, you may be able to draw most of your benefits.
  • The minor misconduct makes you lose the first four to eight weeks of benefits.
  • It may also keep you from drawing Unemployment Compensation in the future unless you lose your next job for a reason that is partly your fault.

What can I do if I am denied?

  • You have a right to an appeals referee hearing.
  • You must make your request within fifteen (15) days from the date the notice of denial was mailed to you. If a worker handed you the notice of denial, you have only seven (7) days to appeal.
  • You should call an attorney or your local Legal Services Office and your union representative (if any) for advice and possible help with the hearing.

Further Appeal Rights

  • If you lose at a hearing, you can appeal to the Board of Appeals.
  • If the Board denies your appeal, you can file a lawsuit in the county where you live.


AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online at intake.alsp.org.

Last Review and Update: Nov 20, 2019
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