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Received unemployment compensation


This variable is not available for any of the currently selected samples.


GOTUNEMP indicates whether the respondent received income from unemployment compensation during the previous calendar year.

For 1976-1987, the specific amount of income from unemployment compensation cannot be identified. In these years, dollar figures for income from government unemployment compensation programs were combined with income from other government programs (such as workman's compensation, veterans' benefits, and disability payments from government programs other than Social Security) in the INCGOV variable. Prior to 1988, the total amount received from various types of unemployment compensation cannot be identified, but researchers can analyze the characteristics of the recipients of such income.


There were changes in the question wording, and thus in the scope of the variable, over time. For 1976-1979, the interviewer simply asked if the individual had received any money from unemployment compensation. For 1980 on, an initial question referred to (federal, state, and/or local) government unemployment compensation payments, and follow-up questions referred to supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB) and union unemployment and strike benefits.

Beginning in 1988, the amount of income received, during the previous calendar year, from state or federal unemployment compensation, supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB), and union unemployment or strike benefits is reported in the INCUNEMP variable. Persons with income in INCUNEMP (i.e., those with values between 1 and 99998 in that variable) for 1988-2004 can be compared to persons with a yes response (code 2) in GOTUNEMP for 1980-1987. Users should exercise caution in extending this comparison to the 1976-1979 period since, as noted above, the scope and specificity of the inquiry broadened beginning in 1980.

For 1988-2005, the sources of unemployment compensation other than government unemployment compensation programs (namely, union unemployment/strike benefits, supplemental unemployment benefits, or both) are identified in SRCUNEMP.


  • 1976-1979: Persons age 14+.
  • 1980-1987: Persons age 15+.


Years Jan Feb ASEC Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1976 – 1987 - - X - - - - - - - - -


This variable has no flags.