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Things You Should Know Before Applying for Unemployment

Unemployment Benefits, better known as UI, provides financial assistance to employees who are downgraded to part-time status or terminated from their jobs through no fault of their own. Unemployment is nationwide, and helps provide partial financial help on a weekly basis while applicants look for new work and a new job.

Unemployment benefits both the person looking for work as well as his community. It allows a person to function and get rehired. At the same time, the UI benefits also help the community by providing financial income for the applicant to use locally as well as

helping him avoid relying on welfare assistance right away.

As a federal program, Unemployment assistance is available nationwide, but in terms of administration it functions through the 50 states. Further, states can add additional local benefits. Employers finance the UI program with their taxes based on payroll to employees.

Can I Extend My Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment insurance payments or benefits are intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed workers who meet the requirements of state law.

To continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits you need to comply with several requisites.

These include:

  • You must file weekly or biweekly claims (after the week(s) has ended) and respond to questions concerning your continued “eligibility.”
  • Claims must include any earnings from work you had during the week(s) and any job offers or refusal of work during the week.
  • When directed, you must report to your local Unemployment Insurance Claims Office or One-Stop/Employment Service Office on the day and at the time you are scheduled to do so.

Someclaimants who file for unemployment benefits may be directed to register for work with the State Employment Service. This is a service that assists individuals in finding employment. To find facilities in your state contact your State Unemployment Insurance agency.

According to the law, “eligibility” depends on two main factors:

  • The state requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.”
  • You must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own (determined under state law).

Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program within guidelines established by federal law, which means eligibility requirements may vary slightly per state.

The state where the claim is filed also determines benefit amounts, number of weeks benefits can be paid and other eligibility conditions.

Benefits can be denied for many reasons. Some may include:

  • Voluntarily leaving work without good cause.
  • Being discharged for misconduct connected with work.
  • Not being able to work or available for work.
  • Refusing an offer of suitable work.
  • Knowingly making false statements to obtain benefit payments.

Weekly or biweekly claims can be filed by mail or telephone depending on the state. Your state agency will provide you with filing instructions.

If you fail to report as scheduled for any interview, benefits may be denied as well.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

  • Benefits are usually based on a percentage of an individual’s earnings over a recent 52-week period up to a state maximum amount.
  • They can be paid for a maximum of 26 weeks in most states.
  • Some states provide additional benefits for specific purposes.


During times of high unemployment additional weeks of benefits may be available known as Extended Benefits.


What are Extended Benefits?

Extended Benefits are available to workers who have exhausted regular unemployment insurance benefits during periods of high unemployment. Exceptions include Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) or Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA).

The basic Extended Benefits program provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits when a state is experiencing high unemployment.

Some states have also passed a voluntary program to pay up to seven additional weeks (20 weeks maximum) of Extended Benefits during periods of extremely high unemployment.

Who can apply for Extended Benefits?

Not everyone who qualified for regular benefits qualifies for Extended Benefits. The State agency will advise you of your eligibility for Extended Benefits.

Extended Benefits

The weekly benefit amount of Extended Benefits is the same as the individual received for regular unemployment compensation.

The total amount of Extended Benefits that an individual could receive may be fewer than 13 weeks (or fewer than 20 weeks).

Filing Extended Benefits

When a state begins an Extended Benefit period, it notifies those who have received all of their regular benefits that they may be eligible for Extended Benefits.

You may contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency to ask whether Extended Benefits are available.

What if my claim is denied?

If you apply for unemployment and are disqualified or denied benefits, but you feel you are entitled to them, you have the right to file an appeal.

The state will advise you of your appeal rights. You must file your appeal within an established time frame. Your employer may also appeal a determination if he or she does not agree with the state’s determination regarding your eligibility.

Only your State Workforce Agency can make a determination to pay or deny benefits so, it is very important that you file an appeal and/or request reconsideration of your determination according to your state’s Unemployment laws.

If you have any questions contact the Department of Labor at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365). Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.

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