Over six million people are unemployed in the United States so if you have lost your job, know you are not alone.
Being unemployed is difficult for anyone to deal with, but thankfully, there are unemployment benefits you can claim to ease the burden. However, you must meet the requirements in order to receive this assistance.
You should be able to receive state unemployment insurance, sometimes called UI, if you have become unemployed through no fault of your own. These benefits allow you to cover some expenses while you look for employment. Each state has its own guidelines regarding unemployment benefits, so you need to find out which benefits you are entitled to depending on your state of residence. The following information will help you to learn more about which benefits may be available, how you can apply and what is required in order to be eligible. There is also some helpful information on other programs that may be able to assist you while you seek employment.
If you have become unemployed through no fault of your own, it is likely you are eligible for unemployment benefits through the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance programs. The purpose of state unemployment insurance benefits is to give temporary financial aid to newly unemployed people who meet the requirements of the state’s law. Each state has different unemployment insurance programs that are established by federal law. It is therefore important to know what the benefits are for your particular state.
Most states initially pay unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks, although extra weeks may be added during stages of high unemployment. Those additional payments are through the extended benefits program. Eligible unemployed people will be contacted when an extended benefits program is available, although it is always worth asking your state agency about the availability of the program if you have not been contacted. In some states, extended unemployment insurance is available for a period of 13 additional weeks, although not everybody who is eligible for state unemployment insurance will be eligible for extended benefits.
If you qualify to receive unemployment benefits, you need to know that they are taxable. When declaring your gross income you are required to include the unemployment benefits you received. If you are receiving any benefits other than state Unemployment Insurance, the tax treatment will be different for each type of program. These benefit programs include:
Are you eligible for state unemployment insurance? State laws determine eligibility for unemployment benefits and the amount you can receive, and each state has a set maximum amount you can be paid. Generally, the benefit amounts are based on a percentage of your earnings from the last year. Although each state has its own guidelines for eligibility, you will normally qualify for benefits if:
Most state programs require you to file weekly or biweekly claims, report any earnings you have received over that period and report any job offers you had in that time. You may also need to report to your American Job Center or unemployment insurance claims office. Failure to attend the designated appointment can result in benefit denial. Some states may also require you to register for work with the State Employment Service.
To apply for unemployment benefits, you will need to file a claim in the state where you worked. As soon as you have been terminated from your job, you should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program because the approval process does not always happen right away. Additionally, many states may have a one-week waiting period win which you cannot receive benefits for any claims. Many states now require online filing for unemployment benefits, although some states provide toll-free numbers you can call and offer other ways to claim. When filing a claim, you will need to provide personal information, so make sure you know what is required for your particular state’s program. Generally, it takes two to three weeks after filing your claim to receive your first benefit payment.
Each state makes its own decisions about your eligibility for the unemployment insurance program.
Applications can be rejected for various reasons, although if your application is not accepted, you are allowed to appeal for reconsideration. Some of the most common reasons for benefits being denied are:
If you are unemployed, there are other programs that can assist you. Here are three ways in which you could get additional help: