Unemployment after voluntary retirement
September 11, 2014 10:05 AM   Subscribe

I have new direct management and what was an occasionally unpleasant job has turned into a nightmare of forced meetings and overhead I've never had to deal with and won't in any way help me in my work. There's a possibility that instead of just quitting, I could take advantage of a voluntary "retirement" whereby I continue to receive a salary for some period of time after leaving. That brings up a question.

Would I ever become eligible for unemployment in this scenario? It's voluntary, so would it be considered the same as just quitting? I live in New York state.
posted by tommasz to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your employer can characterize your departure in any way towards the state unemployment board. They can call it an involuntary termination and not contest your unemployment filing, in which case there's no issue. They can call it a voluntary departure and contest your unemployment filing, in which case your unemployment filing will likely be denied. Either way, there's no downside to you (I am deliberately ignoring the ethics/legality question not asked here) to filing; the worst that happens is you end up where you'd be anyway.

Although I think this is obvious, during the period that you drew a salary (which would effectively be severance pay), you are most likely not eligible for unemployment benefits.
posted by saeculorum at 10:22 AM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: You need to wait at until least two weeks after you are no longer being paid before you become eligible for unemployment insurance benefits in NYS.

If the company views this as a "retirement", then they probably don't expect you to claim unemployment. A better bet would be to try looking for a new job while you're still there, and then take the "voluntary retirement" option once you've secured a new job. If you work it right, you might even be able to get paid from both sources for a couple of weeks.
posted by Citrus at 10:48 AM on September 11, 2014

Best answer: Would I ever become eligible for unemployment in this scenario? It's voluntary, so would it be considered the same as just quitting?

Assuming your employers are not total assholes, you can receive unemployment in this scenario presuming that you are not actual retiring (i.e. going on to collect social security) so it's important to determine how this is characterized. That said, they can contest it for a number of reasons so if you have a decent relationship with HR you might want to run this by them.

If you're unemployed there are some hoops you have to jump through which vary state by state (in VT I had to post my resume on a jobs site, go in for meetings occasionally and be looking for work and list three work contacts every week in order to receive unemployment) and these can be onerous. You would not receive unemployment or you would receive minimal unemployment for the times you were continuing to receive your salary.

I took a voluntary layoff from here when the money situation changed and my options were "Work twice as much for half as much, or move on" and that scenario was OK for receiving unemployment but it didn't kick in until my month of severance had ended. I'm with Citrus, in most cases it's better off just having another job.
posted by jessamyn at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2014

If you are receiving income - severance, retirement, buyout, etc... that will impact how much, if any, unemployment benefits you may receive. You'd have to wait until the salary runs out until you start collecting unemployment.
posted by brookeb at 11:38 AM on September 11, 2014

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