First, are you eligible?
According to the law, in order to be considered “eligible” for unemployment benefits there are two main factors to be considered:
- The state requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a "base period."
* In most states, the base period is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time that your claim is filed.
- You must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of your own (determined under state law).
Each state has its own Unemployment Insurance agency. They administer separate programs within guidelines established by federal law. This means eligibility requirements may vary slightly per state.
The state where the claim is filed determines benefit amounts, number of weeks benefits can be paid and other eligibility conditions.
- 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.
*Additional weeks of benefits may be available during times of high unemployment, which are known as Extended Benefits.
Benefit funding, in the majority of states, is based solely on a tax imposed on employers.
Some states require minimal employee contributions.
Contact your UI agency for more information.
If you are currently unemployed, you must contact the State Unemployment Insurance agency as soon as possible and apply.
Be prepared with all necessary information such as addresses and dates of your former employment. Be sure to give complete and correct information in order to not delay the process.
How long until I receive unemployment benefits?
Once you file an Unemployment Claim, it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks to receive your first benefit check. Some states require a 1-week waiting period; therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment, if you are otherwise eligible.
To continue to be eligible for benefits 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).
- 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.
These claims are usually filed by mail or telephone. The state will provide you with filing instructions.
If you fail to report as scheduled for any interview, benefits may be denied.
To contact your state agency directly, visit: http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp.