Unemployment Benefits in Alabama
Because federal unemployment benefits are actually handled on a state-by-state basis, the calculation for benefits is unique in Alabama when compared to everywhere else. Generally, the amount of benefits you will receive each week is based on your earnings when you were employed. In Alabama, your weekly unemployment benefit amount is 1/26th of your average quarterly earnings in the two quarters of the base period in which you were paid the most.
Alabama state law sets the maximum weekly benefit amount at $265, while the minimum weekly amount is $45. If you get a new job that pays more than you are receiving in unemployment benefits, you will no longer be eligible to receive such benefits. However, if you simply work odd jobs and only make small amounts of income, you should be eligible to continue receiving unemployment benefits and possibly, if applicable, an Alabama unemployment benefits extension.
How to File a Claim in Alabama
If you are wondering how to claim unemployment benefits, you have come to the right place. In Alabama, claiming benefits for unemployment can be completed online or by phone.
Get started with the online filing process by logging on to the Department of Labor website and following the instructions on the screen. To complete the Alabama unemployment benefits claim process online, you will need the following information handy:
- Your Social Security Number
- Your work history for the last 18 months, including your employers’ business names, addresses, telephone numbers and dates of employment
- Your alien registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- Copy #4 of your DD Form 214 (if released from the military in the last 18 months)
- Your Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) certification letter and/or TAA petition number (if you are filing for Trade Adjustment Assistance Benefits)
- Name and local number of your union hiring hall (if you obtain your work through a union hiring hall)
- Your bank routing number and checking/savings account number (if direct deposit is desired)
- A telephone number at which you can be reached during business hours
You can also file an unemployment benefits claim by calling the Initial Claims Line at 1-866-234-5382. Your call will be answered by an electronic Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, which will ask you a few initial questions. You will then be connected to a customer service representative to complete your federal unemployment benefits claim.
When you file your weekly certification for unemployment benefits, report any wages you earned from any work performed during that week. Keep in mind that you must report your gross earnings during the week in which they were earned. You should receive your benefits weekly and quickly as long as you file each claim properly and include all the correct information.
Continued Eligibility in Alabama
In general, you have up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits eligibility, depending on how much you have earned in your base period. As long as you are actively searching for employment, you will have continued eligibility to receive unemployment benefits. Continued eligibility to receive unemployment compensation is also contingent upon your income level, as you will no longer be eligible if you make more than your benefit amount.
Alabama Unemployment Benefits and Federal Income Taxes
Your Alabama unemployment benefits count as taxable income under federal law. You must declare the full amount you receive, and if your total income is high enough, you will have to pay federal income taxes on your unemployment benefits. However, you can ask the state of Alabama to withhold 10 percent of your weekly check for federal income tax by filing Form W4-V (Voluntary Withholding Request).