How do I apply for unemployment benefits in the U.S.?
To apply for unemployment benefits in the U.S. you must file for an unemployment claim with your respective state UI agency. The standard process requires you to undergo the unemployment registration procedure in the state where you were employed. Therefore, if your former posting was located in a state other than your current state or you have had several jobs throughout the country, you can obtain information on how to proceed from the UI office of your present location.
In general, to file for unemployment, you must first meet your state's UI requirements. Only former workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own, such as reduction in working hours or layoffs, can apply for unemployment benefits. In addition, you must have earned a certain amount of wages in the months leading to your unemployment, and you must have been actively seeking a job.
If you meet the above requirements, you can commence your state's process to file for unemployment benefits through one of the methods available to you. Certain states also allow you obtain assistance from a close friend or a relative during the unemployment registration procedure. For instance, if you applying for UI benefits in New York, and you have a disability, another individual may help you to file for an unemployment claim. However, you must be present at all times, and you will be held accountable for his or her actions regarding your UI benefits application.
How do I prepare for applying for unemployment benefits?
Prior to starting your unemployment registration claim, you must prepare for the procedure by collecting certain types of documents and information. Some state Unemployment Insurance offices may allow you to apply for unemployment benefits, even if you are unable to submit all necessary items during the initial application. However, you will be required to submit the remaining data and paperwork at a later time and your UI benefits may be delayed.
In general, the following information is necessary to process your UI claim:
Your full name and Social Security Number
Your contact information, such as your phone number and your resident and mailing addresses
Information about the jobs you have held in the last 18 months before your unemployment, such as:
The dates of your employment and the reason you are no longer employed
The employers' names, addresses and phone numbers
The amount of gross wages earned
In order to prove your identity and citizenship, state Unemployment Insurance agencies will also require you to provide identification documents, such as your valid driver's license or state ID card.
Note: The aforementioned documentation and information requirements may vary from state to state.
Where to sign up for unemployment benefits
After collecting all items necessary for the unemployment registration process, you must learn where to apply for unemployment in your state. Generally, you can submit an online application for unemployment through the website of your state UI agency. However, some applicants may be unable to file for an unemployment claim online. Therefore, depending on your state's policies and procedures, you may also be able to:
U.S. states generally implement a one-week waiting period after you submit your UI petition. Therefore, if your application is accepted, you will receive your benefits within two to three weeks.
What to do after submitting your UI benefits claim?
After you apply for unemployment benefits in your state, you will be required to complete several additional tasks before you start receiving your weekly or bi-weekly UI paychecks. These mandatory tasks vary from state to state. Generally, the standard procedure requires you to register for work through a local workforce center, as you must be actively seeking employment to qualify for unemployment benefits. In addition, certain states, such as Colorado, will also ask you to verify your identity by completing a Verification of Personal Information form.