The Steps to Filing for Unemployment


The loss of a job, regardless of the circumstances, can throw your world into a chaotic state of anxiety. However, one of the first steps you should take following a layoff, is to begin the process of applying for unemployment benefits. The process and laws for unemployment may vary from state to state, but there are some pretty standard requirements and steps that each beneficiary must adhere to.

Remember, if you have willfully quit your job, you will most likely be ineligible to collect unemployment benefits. These benefits are intended for individuals who have had an unexpected job loss, not for those who made the decision to leave their place of employment. Your former employer should be able to confirm whether or not you will be eligible for unemployment.

Begin by visiting either the unemployment office in your city, the website for your state, or by calling the number associated with your local office. Be sure to read through any information they provide before filing for benefits. Often, you can begin the application process right over the phone, in person, or via an electronic form on the website.

The first and perhaps most important rule when answering the required questions, is to be honest. Providing false information to the government can not only hurt your chances of receiving any benefits you may have earned, but can be considered insurance fraud. The last thing you need after losing your job is to find yourself being prosecuted by the government.

After you have reviewed all of the rules and information provided by your unemployment office, and have finished the application process, you will receive notification regarding your application. You should receive a letter stating whether or not you will be receiving benefits, the total benefit amount as well as what your weekly pay-out amount will be. Typically, you can then elect to have taxes deducted from your weekly pay-out. It is highly recommended that you have taxes deducted to avoid having to pay into the IRS the following year. You can also elect to have your pay-outs sent to you either via the United States Postal Service, or via direct deposit into your checking or savings account.

After you receive confirmation of your unemployment benefits, you should begin looking for work immediately. This is probably the second most crucial step you must take during the unemployment process. Most states require that you make a specific number of job contacts each week. In some states such as Wisconsin, the required number is two. Be very careful to not only follow this rule, but to document what company you contacted, who you spoke with, what job you applied for, and any other information as required by your unemployment insurance office. If at any time the UI office requires you to provide proof of your job search, you can simply give them a copy of this documentation. Failure to provide sufficient proof may result in the discontinuation of your benefits, and may even wind up costing you a portion of the payments you have already received.

There are some special circumstances that may allow you to collect UI benefits without having to make weekly job contacts. If you were laid off from your job, but are expected to return at a later date, you may not be required to look for work. You will need to contact your UI office with questions about specific issues that you feel may make you exempt from the job search. However, if you do not have any special circumstances, your number one goal should be to find a job as soon as possible.

Some people do however, have difficulty in finding a job before their initial UI benefits run out. You will be eligible to apply for extended benefits at that time.

When applying for or collecting unemployment benefits, always pay close attention to any correspondence you receive regarding your claim. Your UI office may require that you attend an informational session regarding how to conduct an effective job search. It is your responsibility to stay informed, to follow the rules and to take advantage of any job placement services that are available to you through your local job center.

This post was written by

jason – who has written posts on Budget Clowns.
Father of three and married to a lovely women. Always looking for ways to save money, and invest it properly for my children's future.

Email  • Google + • Twitter

Comments are closed.