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How to File For Unemployment

Employment benefits can be a lifesaver if you have recently lost your job. It eases the financial burden of being out of work and provides some relief. Filing for unemployment can be a headache though. Your claim can be rejected if you don’t follow the rules to the letter, forcing you to go back to square one. As much as this is not meant to discourage you, it’s nice to understand that the system is built to lean more towards denial of claims in a bid to keep fraud to a minimum.

With that in mind, you can always work towards ensuring your application is up to standard. These are the steps on how to file for unemployment that you need to take to ensure you enjoy unemployment benefits on time.

Get in touch with your State Unemployment Agency

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The requirements for unemployment benefits not only vary from state to state, but also are administered through local state offices. Each state has an unemployment agency through which you need to apply directly to receive the benefits. You don’t need to go there in person, as claims can be filed online or over the phone.

Determine Eligibility

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And here comes the tricky part. There is an assumption that everyone without a job is entitled to unemployment benefits, but that is not correct. Usually, there are two separate tests you need to pass in order to be eligible for unemployment insurance, both dependent on state. The first is financial eligibility whereby you need to have earned a sufficient amount of wages from an employer that falls under unemployment compensation laws.

If you tick this box, the next step has to do with benefit eligibility whereby you need to prove that you are out of work for a valid reason. In most cases, the manner in which you lost your job must be through no fault of your own. In other words, the circumstances for you leaving work should be involuntary.

File your Claim

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Almost all unemployment agencies in the various states allow for filing claims online. This helps in speeding up the whole process, as well as curbing the number of errors. You can file your claims via email or over the phone, the first step above should be able to guide you on this. You will be required to provide particular details, including the following:

  • Name
  • Physical Address
  • Social security number (SSN)
  • State ID number or driver’s license
  • Employer information (phone number and address included)
  • Dates you were in employment
  • Salaries earned
  • Why the jobs were terminated
  • 18 months of unemployment history
  • Most recent date of unemployment
  • Pending payments, if any, from past employers (for example, vacation time)
  • Affirmation that you are willing and available to work

Wait for the Ruling

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The processing time for claims is usually quite efficient, being done within 10 business days if everything is in order. The unemployment agency will contact you if they need any information confirmed, or should there be any questions arising from your claim. As well, most states conduct interviews over the phone with claimants before the ruling is made to help reduce instances of fraud. This interview will entail basic questions pertaining to your work history and any information contained in your claim.

Schedule an Appointment at your America’s Job Center

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For you to receive unemployment insurance benefits, you have to attend this meeting at your local America’s Job Center. You can find one near you here or get in touch with your State Unemployment agency. The center offers workshops aimed at assisting you get back to work, as well as one-on-one consulting and other job search services.

Hunt for a New Job

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For you to maintain eligibility, you need to show a willingness and ability to work, an often overlooked aspect of these claims. The responsibility to look for work falls on you, and it is a requirement each week to certify that you are actively looking for a new job, which should be reported in your weekly claim.

Submit your Weekly Claim

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After you start receiving payments, weekly claims need to be submitted in order to maintain your eligibility. Ensure you do this not just on time, but truthfully. Otherwise, your claims may be delayed or terminated, and nobody wants that.

Assuming you meet all eligibility requirements to receive unemployment benefits, just follow these steps and your unemployment insurance claims will be processed within no time. It is advisable to take this option soon as you lose your job.

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