Understanding Unemployment Benefits

Unemployed individuals may qualify to receive a wide range of benefits offered by the U.S government. Applicants and recipients of unemployment benefits should understand how to access and use their benefits. For this reason, the unemployment guidance website provides current beneficiaries as well as potential candidates with the information they need. The information ranges from the beginning of the process on how to apply to resources on finding employment, using benefits and more.

Moreover, by understanding how to apply for benefits, applicants have a better opportunity to receive aid. It is important for unemployed individuals to understand the requirements different unemployment programs have. Once they receive their benefits, recipients must understand how they can meet program requirements to ensure their continuous eligibility. To learn more about different unemployment benefits, application process and more, access the unemployment guidance website and its different resources. Applicants can refer to the information in the sections below for an overview of what the website offers and an insight on what unemployment benefits are about.

What are unemployment benefits?

Benefits for unemployment are administered and sponsored by the United States Department of Labor. Unemployment Insurance is implemented across the nation and is designed to aid eligible workers who are unemployed due to no fault of their own. Additionally, applicants may only receive benefits when they meet the UI requirements, which are similar but may vary from state to state. Program benefits are intended to provide temporary assistance for the unemployed population. These benefits ensure economic support to satisfy recipient’s basic needs and help him or her maintain financial stability.

Moreover, these benefits are based on a percentage of the applicant’s earnings for the previous 52 weeks of employment. However, they have a maximum amount of benefits that candidates may receive and varies depending on the state. Most individuals only receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks, but extended benefits may be given during times of high unemployment. Applicants may also receive additional benefits and access to other resources that are for specific purposes only. Finally, it is important for beneficiaries to understand that the benefits they receive are subject to federal income taxes. Therefore, recipients must report their benefits on their federal income tax return and can also choose to have them withheld by the UI agency of their state of residence.

How to Qualify for Unemployment Benefits

Applicants must meet the state-mandated requirements for income and wages earned from the base period to qualify for benefits. The base period refers to earnings and wages from the first four of the five past quarters from the time the candidate applies for benefits. To qualify, the applicant’s cause must be through no fault of his or her own. It is determined by the law of the applicant’s state of residence whether they qualify to receive unemployment insurance. State law also determines the amount of the benefits an applicant qualifies for as well as the amount of time that they are eligible to receive aid.

Furthermore, the amount an individual receives for unemployment compensation varies and also depends on where they live and file for benefits. However, requirements to qualify are set at the federal level. Applicants must complete the following skills to receive unemployment insurance benefits:

  • Meet state’s wages requirement: This requirement is set at federal level, but the amount of each state varies from one another.
  • Cause of unemployment: Applicants must be able to prove that the cause of their unemployment is due to no fault of his or her own.
  • Provide employment information: Applicants must provide their state agency with information about their previous employer, including wages and contact information.

Moreover, applicants must continue to prove their eligibility while they are receiving benefits. In most states, unemployment insurance recipients have to file claims on a regular basis in order to maintain their benefits. State agencies also require that applicants actively look for employment and report their findings along with their claim. Applicants receive information about the requirements they must fulfill to maintain eligibility once they file and are approved for benefits. In the event a candidate is denied benefits when they apply or file a claim, they have the option to appeal the state agency’s decision.

Learn About the Types of Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment insurance beneficiaries receive most of their support in the form of compensation. As mentioned above, the compensation amount that applicants receive is determined by their work history and has limits depending on state laws. Recipients must file their unemployment claims on a regular basis as determined by their state agency to ensure they receive their benefits. These benefits are given directly to the applicant in a form of check, directly deposited into their account or electronically to a card issued by the state agency. Benefit recipients may also access a virtual portal in which they can file their claims or payment requests and view their account’s activity.

UI beneficiaries can also access other benefits that the unemployment agency of their state may offer. These benefits benefit include the following:

  • COBRA benefits to maintain health insurance coverage under qualifying circumstances after applicants lose their job
  • Training or educational resources to gain skills necessary to go back to the workforce
  • Information about using unemployment benefits and helping applicants gain a better understanding of how to manage their finances while unemployed.
  • Extended benefits of unemployment compensation typically available during high unemployment seasons
  • Online services for applicants to find a job, access training and plan their career

Finally, recipients of unemployment compensation may also qualify for benefits from other state programs. For instance, they may apply for disability insurance or Welfare or Temporary Assistance for needy Families (TANF). However, these programs need different applications that the residents may have to fill separately to receive benefits. Moreover, just like with UI, disability insurance and TANF may also be subject to federal tax and applicants should include this type of income when filing their income tax.