How to File Weekly Unemployment Claims

Americans who qualify for unemployment benefits must submit weekly claims to remain eligible. Some recipients submit claims weekly while others must do so biweekly. Also, they are required to answer multiple questions concerning their eligibility each time. In their claims, beneficiaries must include:

  • Earnings they received during the past week(s) (if any).
  • The job offers they received and refused to work during the past week(s).
  • The date and time they reported to their local unemployment insurance claims office (if requested).

What You Should Know

Unemployment claims are typically file over the telephone or through the mail. States provide recipients with filing instructions. Residents who fail to attend or participate in claims interviews may be denied benefits. To receive benefits, recipients must continue to meet eligibility criteria. There are two primary requirements for beneficiaries to meet. First, applicants must meet their state’s wages earned or time worked requirements during the “base period.” The based period in most states is usually the first four out of five calendar quarters that were completed before the unemployment claims was filed.

Beneficiaries must fit the definition of unemployed under their state law. Their unemployment must be through no fault of their own. Details about this requirement vary in each state as each has its own unemployment insurance agency. Furthermore, this means that each state determines how much a claimant will receive in benefits, how long the will receive benefits and other eligibility criteria.

How to Register for Work

Residents who apply for unemployment benefits are often directed to their state employment service to register for work. Beneficiaries can receive job search assistance through this service. Employment service offices can assist residents by:

  • Providing free re-employment services and information about the labor market.
  • Referring them to job openings in the area or in other parts of the state or country.
  • Offering various training programs.
  • Referring those with special needs to other agencies that can provide the can provide more specialized assistance.
  • Providing counseling and testing to determine the right job or position for them.

Learn About Disqualifications

Sometimes, claimants will be denied benefits. There a multiple reasons for why this can happen. Some reasons that residents are denied benefits include:

  • Providing false information on claims.
  • Refusing offers for suitable work opportunities.
  • Not being able to work.
  • Being unavailable to work.
  • Being dismissed for inappropriate conduct at work.
  • Voluntarily leaving a job without good reason.

About Denied Claims

As mentioned in the previous section above, claimants can sometimes be denied benefits. Other times, they may be disqualified. Residents who were denied unemployment benefits, but feel that they are entitled to them may appeal.

State agencies inform claimants of their right to appeal. They must complete their appeal within a certain amount of time. Employers can also appeal if they do not agree that a claimant is eligible for unemployment benefits.

However, it is only the claimant’s state unemployment agency that can decide whether a resident is eligible for benefits or not. Therefore, recipients should carefully follow their state’s unemployment laws when filing their request for an appeal.

Find Out About Assistance

Claimants who need additional assistance with their unemployment benefits can contact the Department of Labor directly by telephone or email. To get in touch by phone, residents can:

  • Call the National Toll-Free Contact Center at 1-866-4-USA-DOL (1-866-487-2365) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time.
  • Contact different DOL departments to ask about specific topics. Numbers are located on the DOL website.
  • Contact specific personnel at the DOL.

Claimants who do not have access to a telephone or would prefer to use another method to contact the Department of Labor can email. They can use the following to email the DOL:

  • The general email of the DOL to ask non-specific questions.
  • The webmaster of the DOL to ask technical questions.

Residents are not only limited to asking the Department of Labor for assistance. They can also contact their local state agency. Each agency has a different preferred method of communication. It is necessary to check with your local agency for their emails, addresses and numbers.