Now, I’m Unemployed…How Do I Get Paid?

If you have been laid off, fired, or downsized from your job, you may be entitled to state unemployment benefits.  The unemployment benefits are actually insurance policies that employers are required to pay for each employee.  Those funds may be released to the employee when they have been terminated depending on how long they have been employed and the reason for their termination.  Each state has different guidelines.  You can click on our link at the bottom to find out your state’s specific guidelines and to actually get information on filing your unemployment claim.  In the meantime, if you fall into one of the categories above, then, the following general tips are for you.

Step 1

Most states allow you to apply for your unemployment benefits via the telephone, the internet, and in person.  The sooner you apply for your benefits the better.  It typically takes 2-4 weeks for unemployment benefits to start and for you to receive your first check.

Step 2

Make sure that you have your employment documentation in order prior to filling your claim, such as employer name and address, dates of employment, and possibly the employer’s telephone number.  If you are unable to provide some of this pertinent information, your claim may be delayed or even denied.

Step 3

Check with your unemployment office to find out how long you will be eligible to receive your unemployment checks.  The average amount of time is for 26 consecutive weeks.  Fortunately, during terrible economic times, (i.e. 2008-2009), the U.S. Federal government sometimes extends the unemployment eligibility period from 26 weeks up to 52 weeks.

Step 4

Once you are approved for unemployment, the unemployment office will require you to file certain paperwork either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on your state, in order to keep your unemployment benefits active.  You can generally file the required information over the telephone or online.  You will also have to report to the state, any earnings you have received.

Step 5

While receiving unemployment benefits, you will have to consistently look for another job.  Most unemployment offices require you to send in some type of proof that you have been actively looking, such as the following:

  1. Name of the employer
  2. Job title
  3. Where you found the job posting
  4. If you applied online, via telephone or fax, or in person
  5. The date you applied for the job

You may, however, decline jobs that you are not qualified for or for which you do not have the required skill set.  There is usually a minimum number of jobs you must apply to each benefit filing period or you may not receive your unemployment check for that period.