Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment benefits are usually available to workers who have been laid off or fired through no fault of their own. These benefits are insurance-not charity. Employers are required to pay a special tax to fund this national compensation program. In the aftermath of losing a job, thinking about money and how you are going to pay the bills can be overwhelming. If you are unemployed, you can ease the process somewhat and save time by taking these steps to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.

1) Apply for unemployment benefits in person, by phone or online as soon as you can after being notified of a layoff or termination because it can take two to three weeks to receive the first check. See the resources section to check for state unemployment documentation requirements.

2) Gather all required documentation such as employment dates and addresses of former employers, and have this information at your fingertips when you file for unemployment benefits to keep your claim from being delayed.

3) Check your eligibility. The average time you are able to collect unemployment checks is 26 weeks. However, during times of economic slowdown, the US Government may extend the limit to 52 weeks. For additional information download the Unemployment Insurance Fact Sheet in the resources section

4) To continue to receive unemployment benefits once approved, you will have to file a claim either weekly or biweekly based on state requirements, and report any earnings you may have received.

5) You will also have to look for a job while collecting unemployment checks and may be required to show proof. You may decline jobs that are unsuitable or those that do not fit your skill set.

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