If you must file unemployment claims for the first time, then it is worth taking the time to learn more about the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, including the amount of benefits that you may be entitled to and the eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to receive UI benefits.

When you apply for unemployment, you must provide information about yourself and your employer. The information that you provide will be used to help determine your eligibility for the UI program as well as the benefit amounts that you may be entitled to receive if approved. While waiting for a decision on your case and while receiving benefits, you must continue to submit weekly or biweekly claims based upon your state program.

Finally, if your application or weekly claim is denied, it is important to understand your rights in regards to an appeal. While an unemployment appeal does not guarantee that a different decision will be made, it allows your case to receive a second look in order to make sure that the correct determination had been made.

How can my state unemployment office help me?

Before applying for an unemployment check, it is important to learn more about the Unemployment Insurance programs and the benefits that the program provides qualifying workers. The Unemployment Insurance program is a federal program that is administered on a state level in order to provide financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs due to circumstances they could not control.

UI benefits reduce some of the financial hardship that these workers face while seeking new employment opportunities. Additionally, certain state Unemployment Insurance programs provide other benefits to qualifying workers, including resume building assistance, job referrals, job training programs and career counseling.

How to See If You May Qualify Before You Apply for Unemployment

Before learning how to apply for unemployment, it is crucial that you review the eligibility requirements that you must meet in order to receive benefits. General qualifications for UI benefits include:

  • That your behavior did not cause you to lose your job or become underemployed.
  • That you worked enough and earned enough during your “base period”.
  • That you were not considered self-employed.

Your “base period” is a specific time period prior to when you submit your initial unemployment claim. In most states, the base period takes into account the past five calendar quarters and how much you earned during the four quarters that first occurred. Your work and wage eligibility requirements help determine your eligibility for the Unemployment Insurance program and the benefit amount that you may be eligible to receive.

Your unemployment office will determine whether or not you are considered to be at fault for your unemployment. If you were terminated, whether or not you are eligible for UI benefits will be based upon the reason for your termination. For example, you will be ineligible to receive benefits if you lose your job due to:

  • A dishonest action, such as lying or theft.
  • A violation of company policy.
  • Disclosing sensitive information to a third party.
  • Misconduct.

Each state unemployment office includes different eligibility requirements. Depending on the state program that you are filing a claim with, there may be additional qualifications that you must meet in order to receive benefits.

Can you collect unemployment if you quit?

Most unemployment claims are denied after a worker voluntarily leaves their place of employment. However, you may still be eligible to receive benefits if you quit following an extreme circumstance, such as if your employer wanted you to engage in an illegal activity.

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Depending on the state you file with, you may be able to apply for unemployment online, which is considered to be the simplest and fastest way to apply. To submit your claim online, you must create an unemployment benefits login, which you will also use on a weekly or biweekly basis to file claims while you are searching for new employment.

If you cannot apply online, your state may allow claims to be submitted over the phone or at your local office. As part of your application, you will be asked to provide your personal information, information about your previous employers and the dates that you worked for each recent employer.

Which Unemployment Office to Apply to When Working Outside of Your Residency State

You must apply to the unemployment office of the state that you were working in regardless of the state that you live in. However, if you worked in multiple states, it is recommended that you contact your state office to determine which state program you should apply with.

Understanding Weekly and Biweekly Unemployment Claims

After submitting your initial claim, you must submit a weekly or biweekly claim to continue to receive benefits. How often you must submit a claim depends on the state UI program that you must file with.

Should you fail to submit an unemployment weekly claim, you may lose benefits for that week. Therefore, it is imperative that you follow your state program’s rules for filing claims. Each time you file a claim, you must provide your office with information related to your continued eligibility, including whether you have received or refused any employment offers, details about your search for employment and whether you have received any income for the week.

About Reviewing Unemployment Check Benefits

Benefit amounts vary between state Unemployment Insurance programs. Benefits are based upon several factors, including the wages that you earned during the base period, any income that you are receiving during your unemployment and the maximum benefit amount paid by the state program. Some state programs also offer an unemployment calculator that will allow you to calculate your estimated benefit amount.

When and How to File an Unemployment Appeal

If your unemployment claims are denied, you will receive a letter from your local office regarding the decision. Your letter will include the reason you were denied benefits, instructions regarding the appeal process and by when you must request an appeal by, should you choose to.

An unemployment appeal will grant your case a second look in order to determine whether or not the first decision that was made on your case was made correctly. If a different determination is made as a result of the appeal, the appealed decision will overrule the original decision.