Including 6 months of unemployment in benefits calculation?

by John
(Gilbertsville, PA)

I am a DOD (Department of Defense) contractor, and 61 years old. I fell out of a truck cab approximately 5 feet to the concrete on base in Kuwait on 1/30/2015. After 5 weeks in and out of the hospital in Kuwait, with torn shoulder muscles, disc and vertebra damage to neck and lower back area, as well as nerve damage, I was flown back to the States for treatment.

I worked for the same company for the past 5 years. After spending 4 years with the company in Afghanistan, I was laid off. After 11 months at home, the last 7 with no income, I was re-hired and sent to Kuwait. After 6 months, I was injured on the job.

When calculating my bi-weekly benefits, they went back a full 52 weeks, inserting "$0 income" for my previous six months, and basically cutting my benefits in half. My question is, must they go back a full 52 weeks before the accident? How can they estimate benefits while including 6 months of being unemployed? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Including 6 months of unemployment in benefits calculation?":

John (Gilbertsville, PA):

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is 4 percent of the average of your two highest quarters during the base period (highest quarter + second highest /2 x 0.04 = WBA). The maximum WBA is $320.

Your maximum benefit amount (MBA) is the most you can receive in a benefit year. It is 20 times your WBA, or one-third of your base period wages, whichever is less. When figuring MBA using either method, the base period wages for each quarter are limited to 26 times your WBA.

You can find more in-depth information on calculating benefits on these pages:

U.S. Department of Labor benefit calculator

Unemployment compensation according to the Internal Revenue Service

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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