How to File Your Weekly Unemployment Claims

Losing your job unexpectedly can feel stressful. The loss of income can impact many aspects of your life, and you might worry about how you will afford your expenses. Fortunately, you can apply for and take part in government financial assistance programs while you look for new employment. 

After losing your job, you may be eligible to receive assistance from the unemployment insurance (UI) program. If you become underemployed or unemployed, you might qualify to receive financial benefits from the UI program. You will be able to receive monetary assistance for a limited time to use toward your regular expenses. However, you must submit claims for your benefit weekly to continue receiving them after you are approved for the program. Read below to learn more about filing your weekly UI claims.  

Laws Regulating Unemployment Compensation

While unemployment insurance is available nationwide, states differ in certain aspects when it comes to eligibility and benefits. While state UI programs must follow federal guidelines and regulations, they are permitted to alter the length of time that they can provide benefits. They can also adjust the amount of support that beneficiaries can receive. Thus, it is important to understand your state’s specific program before you apply. 

Unemployment compensation is made possible through employers’ taxes. Through these tax payments, workers who lose their jobs are able to receive their weekly benefit payments when they file claims. Due to federal laws, employees are protected from paying this tax or having employers impose them on the workers. As a result, employment insurance is paid for by employers rather than employees.

Basics of Unemployment Insurance 

Eligible workers who have lost their jobs may be able to obtain financial compensation through the unemployment insurance program. However, this benefits program is only available to workers who have become underemployed or unemployed due to circumstance they had no control over. These monetary benefits are meant to ease the financial burden that comes with losing a job. 

Learn About UI Requirements

You must satisfy the UI eligibility requirements for your state’s program before you can receive benefits. Although states have different specifications for their eligibility criteria, they do follow a general outline. The most common and general qualifier for a UI program is working for a certain amount of time and earning a certain minimum amount during that period. This period is known as the base period. 

Typically, the first four quarters of the past five completed calendar quarters are considered the base period. These are the quarters worked before you filed your first claim. In addition, you must have earned a certain amount of income during these quarters to qualify. Each state has its own minimum for this requirement. You must meet your state’s criteria for these categories in order to both qualify and determine how much you will receive in benefits and for how long. 

Moreover, general UI guidelines specify that you must have lost your job or had your hours reduced through no fault of your own. For instance, if you are no longer employed for the following reasons, likely will not qualify for unemployment compensation:

  • You voluntarily quit your job 
  • You were fired as a form of disciplinary action

It is essential to apply for your state’s unemployment program as soon as your hours are reduced or you are no longer working. Your local UI office can then assist you with filing your application. Depending on where you live, you may be able to apply: 

  • In person. 
  • Online. 
  • By phone. 

When completing your application, you must include information about yourself as well as your previous employers. You must include details about:

  • Your previous employers’ names. 
  • Where your former jobs were located. 
  • The dates when you worked with specific companies. 

Furthermore, remember to complete your application form as accurately as possible. Reviewing the information after you finish the form can help you make sure that your information is correct. After you submit your completed application, it will take several weeks for the UI office to process it. However, it may take longer if one of your previous employers argue against your unemployment claim.   

Learn About Filing Weekly Claims

You will be required to submit claims weekly or biweekly to your UI office if you wish to obtain your benefits regularly. For each claim, you will be asked a number of questions about your eligibility. Participants are typically asked about the income they earned over the course of the week and their progress on finding new employment. 

Depending on your state’s unemployment insurance program, you might be able to submit your weekly claims using a variety of methods. Many states permit recipients to submit online only. On the other hand, you may have other options such as online or in-person filing. Furthermore, you may be asked by your UI representative to visit the local branch in person for a variety of reasons. Failing to appear when asked may result in consequences such as reduction or revocation of benefits. 

Find Out About the Benefits of UI 

The benefits that you receive from unemployment insurance are dependent on how much you earned during the time you spent working. This amount is usually calculated as a percentage of your income during the base period. However, keep in mind that most states do not offer benefits for more than 26 weeks. 

During prolonged periods of high unemployment, you may be able to obtain UI benefits for longer than what your state typically allows. However, you must be aware that your benefits are subject to federal taxes. To simplify matters, you can choose to have your benefit taxes withheld by your unemployment office. 

How to Continue Receiving UI Benefits

After receiving your approval notice, you must be aware of the next steps to take if you want to maintain your eligibility. For instance, you must enroll for job search assistance at your local unemployment office branch. 

Then, you must continually search for new employment while you are receiving your benefits. Your efforts must be documented and submitted in your weekly claims. Fortunately, your unemployment office will be able to assist you in doing this. Most states offer re-employment or training programs to participants. Specifically, you may be able to: 

  • Obtain a list of job openings in your area. 
  • Acquire resume-building help.
  • Receive job referrals. 
  • Access career counseling.