Can the Homeless Get Unemployment Benefits?


According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, one of the leading causes of homelessness is the loss of a job. When a person loses a job, he loses a source of income, meaning that he may not be able to pay for a home. In many cases, a newly unemployed person who is homeless can still receive benefits.

Unemployment Benefits

  • Unemployment benefits are payments provided to people by state agencies who have recently been laid off from their jobs and are seeking to re-enter the workforce. These benefits are not contingent on a person having a stable place of residence. In fact, these benefits may help a person pay for a place to live, which may help the person in his search for a new job.


  • A person is eligible for unemployment if he meets the conditions set by the state. Generally, a person can receive unemployment is he was laid off from his job for reasons beyond his control. In addition, while receiving benefits, the person must be continuously looking for a new job and be available to take a job suitable to his skills if it is offered to him.


  • Being homeless does not disqualify a person from receiving unemployment benefits, as a stable place of residence is not a requirement for receiving benefits. However, a person who is homeless must be able to demonstrate that he is able to continue to look for work and, if he is offered a job, will be able to accept it, despite not having a permanent address.


  • A person will not be able to receive unemployment benefits simply because he is homeless. This is because benefits are set aside for people who recently lost their jobs, not people who have been out of jobs for years. However, the chronically homeless may be eligible for other types of government assistance, such as food stamps or Supplemental Security Income, both of which are provided by the federal government.


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