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How To File For Unemployment

Last updated January 24, 2022

Lost your job or had your hours at work cut? Here's how to file for unemployment.

 What Is Unemployment Insurance (UI)?

Unemployment insurance programs provide benefits (money) to eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Qualified workers will receive payments for a specific period of time or until the worker finds a new job.

Who Qualifies For Unemployment Benefits?

Eligibility for unemployment insurance, the benefit amounts and the length of time benefits are available are determined by laws in your state. Typically, you must have been employed for at least one year and worked at least 680 hours to be eligible. However, because COVID-19 is a pandemic, there are special policies put in place to help more workers qualify for benefits.

how to file for unemployment

Documents Needed to Apply For Unemployment

Here are the common documents and pieces of information you will need to file your unemployment claim:

  1. A recent pay stub
  2. Your Social Security number
  3. Your driver's license or government ID.
  4. Your complete mailing address, including street, city, state, and zip code (this should be on your paystub)
  5. A telephone number where you can be reached.
  6. The full company names and addresses of all employers that you worked for in the last two years, including employers located in another state.

If you have been laid off from work or your hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Follow these steps to contact your state employment department to submit your unemployment benefits application.

  1. Go to
  2. In the search bar, type “unemployment benefits”
  3. Click on the first link that says “Unemployment Benefits Finder (Local Help)” 
  4. Select your state from the drop down menu. 
  5. Then click the link under the "To file a UI claim online" section to access your state’s unemployment benefits website 

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