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How to File for Unemployment Benefits in the United States

In the United States, workers can file for unemployment. Employers are required to pay unemployment taxes to protect their workers if they lose their jobs.

Each state has its own requirements for unemployment insurance for employers and employees. Along with unemployment benefits at the state level, unemployed workers can qualify for career training to help them find new jobs.

No matter what state you live in, it is important to properly follow the process when you apply for unemployment. However, if you have difficulty with the process or think that you are wrongfully denied benefits, you can contact an attorney for unemployment appeal assistance.

You are not alone, tons of people file for unemployment each year. For some tips on how to deal with the unemployment process, visit this blog.

Access Unemployment Benefits

 When you find yourself without a job, you can access unemployment benefits. These benefits are actually an insurance program between the federal government and the states. Workers must be eligible based on guidelines established by the federal government. The benefits are temporary, as workers are expected to use their time to find employment.

Usually, the benefits are based on how much you have worked over the course of 52 weeks. The states set the maximum that any worker can receive and the amount is a percentage of what you have earned. Benefits are taxed and must be included on your annual tax returns.

Even though each state has its own requirements, there are a few eligibility requirements that are common between them. Jobs must be lost at no fault of the employee. This means that you may have been laid off from your job or your place of employment shut down. Available work at your current employer had to stop.

You do not qualify if you quit your job. It is also important that you fit the work and wage requirements for your state. You must have established what is called a “base period,” which usually applies to a set number of quarters in a calendar. You have to check with your state to find out all requirements. If you feel that you have met those requirements and you are denied, then you can hire an attorney for unemployment appeal assistance.

For example, New York clearly defines it requirements on its Website and a handbook given to claimants.

Where to Apply for Benefits

Prior to receiving benefits, you must apply with your state’s unemployment insurance office. It is wise to do this as soon as possible because there is usually a minimum waiting period before you can begin receiving benefits. That waiting period could last up to three weeks.

Some states offer online filing, while others require that you show up to the office in person or file over the phone. States also require that you file where you worked. However, if you have been employed in several states, then you should apply where you live and speak with an attorney for unemployment appeal issues that could become a problem.

For example, visit California’s process for filing a claim.

What Do You Need When Applying?

State unemployment insurance offices usually require you to provide several pieces of information. You need to have the address of your employer, as well as the dates that you were employed. If you received a layoff notice, you should provide it.

It is a good idea to check with your state’s unemployment insurance office to determine exactly what paperwork you need to supply when applying for unemployment benefits. You might even need to provide proof of residency, so your unemployment checks arrive at the proper address.

Florida explains what kind of information it requires when individuals apply for unemployment insurance.

Receiving Benefits

To receive unemployment benefits while looking for work, you need to continue to meet eligibility requirements. Many states require people to update their status on a regular basis. This is often done over the phone, by email, or in person.

You need to report earnings, if you have found a new job. You might not be eligible to continue receiving benefits if you make too much money at your new job. You usually have to report if you received job offers or if you declined any that you received. You might have to register and work with state offices that help people find jobs.

If you do have to register with state employment offices, you receive help in several areas. State employment offices help the unemployed with writing their resumes and practicing interview skills. They can help people find training programs to update or expand their job skills. They can also help with employment counseling and testing programs. They can refer unemployed people to community services that help them survive this stressful time in their lives.

What If You are Denied Benefits?

Unfortunately, some people are denied unemployment benefits. Fortunately, there is help available. If you are denied, but you believe that you should be eligible, then you can hire an attorney for unemployment appeal procedures.

These can be complicated, and it is helpful to find someone who specializes in this type of law. Denials can happen if someone quits without a good reason. They can also be denied if they are fired for misconduct or for not being ready and willing to work. Many people are denied because they have made a false statement on their application. And, benefits can end if people refuse offers for a reasonable job.

Have you lost your job? It is important to apply for unemployment benefits immediately – even the day that you are let go. There is no time to waste when it comes to maintaining your way of life and getting the benefits that you deserve. One of the best places to find help with unemployment benefits is the federal government’s CareerOneStop Website.