Unemployment Compensation

File For Unemployment Compensation – The Guide

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Losing your job can be disheartening, especially if you do not have sufficient monetary backup to sustain during jobless days. You must not panic or take hasty steps. Instead, see it as a challenge and give it your best towards searching for jobs. Leverage the world of internet by using the services of job portals to look up for job openings. However, your first move should be to file for unemployment compensation, a weekly payout provided by the government for jobless citizens.

We have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you deal with application and management of unemployment benefits.

Where to Begin?

State unemployment agencies take about a week or two to process your initial claim for unemployment benefits. Therefore, its paramount for you to understand the timelines and claim accordingly to avoid financial burden by the way of unplanned expenses. Once your claim is set up on the system, you can get up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.The labor authorities in your state will inform you on the duration you qualify for in the initiation phase. Substantial weekly claims are processed much faster as they are automated with little human intervention.

1) Ascertain your eligibility before applying for unemployment compensation. As the norms vary state by state, study them in detail to ensure your application meets all the conditions. The list below encompasses the most common conditions applicable to all states.

  • You must only apply if you’re able and available to work. If you’re temporarily/permanently disabled, consider claiming disability insurance.
  • You must have lost your previous job due to involuntary reasons such as layoffs. If you were asked to leave due to a misconduct or any other fault, you will not qualify for unemployment compensation.
  • Wages earned during the base period(4 or the last 5 calendar quarters worked) should meet the benchmark value set by your state. Income from seasonal and contractual jobs do not generally qualify.

2) Estimate benefits amount using the unemployment calculator to ascertain the monetary compensation you will be eligible for. Based on simple inputs, this smart tool provides immediate results.

3) Prepare to contact the unemployment agency in your state. Use the interactive map to locate the agency details which includes their contact number, physical address and online web portal for filing and managing your claims online.

4) Choose the mode of filing: Almost all state unemployment insurance agencies allow filing of claims online or by telephone. Its highly recommended  that you use the online option to file for unemployment as it is more accurate compared to other choices available.

5) Prepare the paperwork to file: A little over half of the unemployed class hesitate to file for unemployment compensation owing to complex paperwork. On the contrary, technology has reduced the dependence on unwanted documentation. State labor departments are encouraging you to apply for monetary benefits by simplifying the claims process and documentation. Below is a list of information you’ll need at the time of filing for benefits.

  • Name, social security number and other personal details.
  • Details of previous employment(last two years) with contact details of the employer.
  • Duration of employment, reason for separation etc.
  • Membership details if you belong to an union.

6) Wait for the first benefit amount to credit: After you’ve applied for benefits, be sure to check if all obligations from your end were fulfilled and wait for the first check to arrive. Generally, it can take up to 2 weeks(from the date of filing) for processing the first claim. Always keep a track of the turnaround time and follow up by phone if there is a delay. Most importantly, engage yourself if job hunting, do not sit idle. Apply for suitable jobs, learn a new skill and spend quality time with family and friends.

7) Register with state employment services for jobs: Signing up for job assistance with state unemployment agencies aids job search. Though not mandatory, its highly recommended since employers keep posting their requirement on state employment portals. These service are generally free of charge. Some of them provide additional services such as counselling, training programmes, referral programs etc.

8) Continue filing for weekly benefits: To ensure continuity in benefits, file weekly or as per the timelines prescribed in your state. You will also be required to report the job contacts made, wages earned(freelance or part time) every week.

Claiming unemployment benefits from more than one state

Always file from the state where you worked even if you do not live in that state. If you worked in more than one state and not living in any of them, please consider filing from the state where your last employment was based. The labor authorities should be able to advise you further on where you should be filing from.