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One of the main stipulations of collecting unemployment benefits is you have to be able and available to work a standard full-time job, actively seeking work, and not refuse a suitable offer should one come along.

Able and Available: One of the most common phrases when it comes to unemployment, being able and available means you have nothing stopping you—physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically, or otherwise—from both looking for and working a standard full-time job.

Actively Seeking Work: Unemployment Office has teamed up with so you can find the best job available. This job search site has 15 million registered users, is one of the fastest-growing job search sites on the web, and can help you find a job in your field. Because one of the conditions of receiving unemployment benefits is to be actively seeking work (i.e. handing out resumes, going on interviews, etc.), use to make sure you qualify for unemployment while you wait to land the perfect job.

Job Suitability: Your state unemployment agency will tell you the exact parameters of what it means to accept or turn down a suitable or unsuitable job, but the general meaning is you have to be qualified for it. For example, if you’re a mechanical engineer who was making $70,000/year before you became unemployed and have recently received an offer to become a mechanical engineer but for only $50,000, you cannot refuse it because you don’t like the reduced pay. It’s a suitable job offer in that you’re qualified and trained to do the work with a salary that matches, even if it’s not at the salary you’d like. However, some cases dictate that you must accept any work that you’re capable of doing.

Along with being ready to start a suitable job immediately, you have to accept a job if the shifts and hours fall within the normal range for your occupation, such as before dawn if you’re a newspaper deliverer. Along with shifts and hours, job suitability also means a willingness to commute a reasonable distance to work, even if the commute is as much as an hour and a half each way.

Lastly, some states may require you to keep a job search log, such as in Washington state, for each week you claim unemployment. Typical information in the log includes company information, how the contact with the company was made, contact name or confirmation of application, and the type of contact. And in New York, job seekers must act similarly, contacting or applying to several employers each week, along with keeping a record of it.

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