How To File For Unemployment Benefits
Last updated August 17, 2023
Losing your job or having your hours cut can be a stressful experience, especially if it's your first job. It's important to know that there are options available to help you through this difficult time. We'll guide you through the process of filing for unemployment benefits, so you can get the help you need to make ends meet while you search for your next job opportunity.
What Is Unemployment Insurance (UI)?
Unemployment insurance programs provide benefits (aka money) to eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, whether it's due to layoffs, business closures, or other circumstances beyond their control. 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. It's worth checking with your state's unemployment insurance program to see if you qualify and how to apply..
What documents do I need to apply for unemployment?
Here are the common documents and pieces of information you will need to file your unemployment claim:
- A recent pay stub
- Your Social Security number
- Your driver's license or government ID.
- Your complete mailing address, including street, city, state, and zip code (this should be on your paystub)
- A telephone number where you can be reached.
- The full company names and addresses of all employers that you worked for in the last two years, including employers located in another state.
How do I apply for unemployment?
In addition to the documents and pieces of information listed in the previous paragraph, there are a few other things you should keep in mind when applying for unemployment.
- Be sure to check the deadlines in your state for filing your claim. Some states have strict deadlines for submitting your application, so it's important to act quickly.
- Be prepared to provide detailed information about your previous employment, including the dates of your employment, your job title, and your reason for separation from each employer. It's also important to provide accurate information about your earnings, as this will determine the amount of benefits you may be eligible to receive.
- Be aware that your unemployment claim may be subject to review and investigation by your state's unemployment agency. This is a routine process to ensure that benefits are being paid out appropriately, but it can result in delays or denials if there are any discrepancies or issues with your claim.
- Be sure to find out what will be required of you while you receive unemployment benefits. Some states may require you to attend trainings and prove that you are actively searching and applying for jobs while you are receiving employment benefits. Make sure to check your state’s policy so you can uphold those requirements!
How to access the unemployment benefits application
Follow these steps to contact your state employment department to submit your unemployment benefits application:
- Go to CareerOnestop.org
- In the search bar, type “unemployment benefits”
- Click on the first link that says “Unemployment Benefits Finder (Local Help)”
- Select your state from the drop down menu.
- Then click the link under the "To file a UI claim online" section to access your state’s unemployment benefits website
If you have more questions about applying for unemployment benefits, text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!