Severance and Unemployment

Can you receive severance and unemployment?  This is a common question that our clients ask about prior to signing the severance agreement.  However, the answer to this question is very fact specific and state specific.  Each state has its own unemployment compensation laws and regulations.  Accordingly, each state will have a different view on whether you are entitled to receive severance pay and unemployment benefits at the same time or whether you have to wait until the severance payments stop to collect unemployment.

For example, in New York, you are entitled to collect severance pay and unemployment if (1) the amount of severance pay is less than the amount of unemployment benefits; (2) the initial severance payment is made after the 30th day following your termination; or (3) the severance pay is stopped. In New Jersey, you are entitled to receive severance pay and an unemployment benefits since the severance pay is based on prior years of employment, so long as the severance pay is not considered salary continuation.  In Florida, you would not be entitled to unemployment benefits and severance pay if the severance pay is equal to or greater than the amount of the unemployment benefits.

You can find more information about severance and unemployment on your State’s department of labor website.  However, you can always apply for unemployment benefits and the examiner will inform you whether you are eligible to receive severance and unemployment.  The examiner may inform you that you are not eligible to receive both and that you will need to reapply after the severance payments have ended.  You may also learn that the regulations allow you to receive both and that you can move forward with your severance and unemployment at the same time.

Please call us with any questions that you may have regarding severance and unemployment.  We will advise you on your eligibility and guide you in the right direction.