Unemployment Benefits Frequently Asked Questions

Americans who have lost their jobs are able to apply for unemployment benefit through their state’s unemployment insurance agency.

However, they must make sure they meet the eligibility requirements before they can receive any benefits.

Furthermore, applicants who are accepted into the program must remain eligible to continue receiving benefits. However, residents who are denied have the right to request an appeal.

In addition, when there are higher levels of unemployment than usual in a state, some applicants can also receive an unemployment extension.

The unemployment insurance program is complex and it is easy to get confused by all the details.

Below, residents will find answers to the most frequently asked questions and gain a better understanding of the unemployment benefits.

1. What are unemployment benefits?

The U.S. government provides the option for jobless Americans to apply for unemployment benefits.

Residents who lost their jobs through no fault of their own can receive financial assistance from the federal government if accepted into the program.

Unemployment benefits are funded by taxes paid by employees. However, no taxes are deducted from workers’ paychecks. In addition, not all employees are eligible for unemployment benefits.

Every state has its own eligibility requirements that unemployment applicants must meet in order to receive financial benefits.

2. How often will I receive unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits are available to claimants for a limited amount of time. This time limit is typically for 26 weeks.

However, some states allow recipients to receive benefits for longer while others have an even shorter time limit. During times of high unemployment, states may activate extensions for unemployment benefits.

This option is only available during special circumstances so recipients should make sure to find a job within the typical 26-week period.

3. How are unemployment benefits estimated?

Wages earned during an applicant’s previous period of employment are used to estimate unemployment benefit amounts. This period is called the base period.

Depending on the applicant’s state, this period may either be 52 week or 12 months. Different states may use different time periods. In this calculation, commissions, overtime pay and bonuses can be used.

4. If I was fired, can I still apply for unemployment?

Residents who are dismissed from work through no fault of their own may qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. Employees fired for misconduct or other subjective reasons cannot claim unemployment insurance.

Objective reasons such as a company going out of business are valid when applying for unemployment. However, residents must meet other qualifications as well.

5. How do I submit an application online?

Most states give residents the option to apply online. However, specific online application processes may differ depending on the unemployment insurance agency.

Typically, applicants must go onto their state’s unemployment benefits site and provide their identification information, Social Security Number and date of birth. Afterward, they fill the online application.

6. Why was I denied benefits?

The primary requirements for receiving unemployment benefits are losing a job through no fault of the employee and meeting state wage and work requirements.

Therefore, employees who voluntarily left their jobs without good reason or were fired due to misconduct may not be able to receive benefits.

Moreover, employees who did not earn sufficient wages during their base period may also be denied benefits.

7. What is an unemployment benefits extension?

Unemployment benefits extensions are activated during period of high unemployment. The extension prolongs the period of time that claimants can receive financial assistance for unemployment.

These extensions usually go into effect when there is high statewide unemployment.

Claimants who are eligible for a benefit extension will be notified by their state unemployment insurance agency. Currently, no state is actively offering unemployment extensions.

8. When should I apply for unemployment insurance benefits?

Residents who have recently become unemployed should apply for benefits as soon as they ensure they are eligible.

However, employees who are currently working but will be unemployed soon cannot apply until they are officially unemployed. During the time of application, residents must already be without work.