How To Apply & File Unemployment Claims

The federal government offers monthly monetary benefits to U.S. workers who have recently lost their work. In order to do so, they must file an unemployment claim.

These benefits are offered to workers by the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Before applying for benefits through the unemployment insurance program, you must meet your state’s specific eligibility requirements.

Since the unemployment insurance program is managed by the Department of Labor, the department has established broad guidelines about the program that all states must follow.

The Department of Labor institutes guidelines for aspects of the program such as the amount of benefits that will be payable, the criteria for eligibility and the methods for applying.

State unemployment agencies will be able to set any additional guidelines that must be met in order to receive unemployment benefits.

They may also offer workers additional methods of filing unemployment claims.

Before applying, be sure that you are familiar with your state’s specific procedures for the unemployment program.

In general, most states allow applications for unemployment benefits to be submitted online. Other states may also offer the option to file a claim with a paper application or over the phone.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

In order to apply for benefits, you must first contact your state’s unemployment agency and file a claim. The claim filing process is established by state unemployment agencies.

You are required to visit the unemployment office in the state where you were last employed to receive benefits.

If you have moved to a new state since you lost your job, you can contact your new state’s unemployment office and they will guide you on the process for filing your claim.

Generally, you will be required to meet state unemployment insurance requirements such as:

  • You must be a former worker who lost a job through no fault of your own. For example, you can be eligible if you left a job due to a reduction in working hours or company layoffs.
  • You must have worked a minimum period of time a received a certain amount of wages in the months before your unemployment.
  • You must now be actively seeking a job.
  • Unemployment offices will require your contact information and Social Security Number.

In addition to personal information, you will need to provide certain information about the jobs you have worked in the past 18 months before unemployment such as:

  • The dates in which you were employed.
  • The reason why your employment ended.
  • Your previous employers’ names, addresses and phone numbers.
  • The gross wages you earned during your employment.

Once you have gathered the necessary information, you must contact the unemployment insurance agency over the phone or online.

You also have the option to download and print a paper application in order to submit it at your state’s UI office by mail or in person.

How do I prepare to file an unemployment claim?

Before you begin your application for unemployment benefits, you should be sure to gather the appropriate information and documents to complete the process.

In some circumstances, unemployment offices may permit you to submit a partially completed application if you are unable to provide all of the necessary information while you are initially applying.

However, you must gather the required information and submit it to the UI office in order to receive benefits.

Failure to complete this process may cause your benefits to be delayed.

Certain states will allow you to obtain assistance in completing your application if you have a disability.

In these cases, another individual, usually a relative or close friend, will file an unemployment claim on your behalf.

You are required to be present at all times and you will still maintain accountability for any employment decisions made on your behalf.