How To Apply for Unemployment

"You're fired!" Now that you've heard that famous Donald Trump catchphrase from your own boss, gather your belongings, say your goodbyes, and head straight to your computer to file your application for unemployment benefits.

Check whether the particular state in which you were employed allows you to file your unemployment claim by phone or online by contacting your state unemployment office.  

Here's how to apply and the information you should have ready to file your claim:  your current mailing address and home phone number; your Social Security Number and Driver's License Number; your military separation date if applicable; your mother's maiden name for security/access purposes; the name, address and phone number of your most recent employer; the date you started and ended your employment there and your annual salary; and information about any additional employers within the past two years.

The unemployment office may ask for additional information, such as why you left your last job, whether or not you are owed any vacation or holiday pay, and whether you want taxes to be withheld from any unemployment checks.

If you were terminated from your job through no fault of your own, your claim will probably be processed quickly and you could see your first unemployment check within two to three weeks.

If you quit, or there is a question about why you left, the unemployment claims process gets more complicated and takes a bit longer.  If you ultimately receive notification that your claim for unemployment benefits was denied, you can file an appeal to challenge this ruling. Try your best to keep anger and emotion out of your answers and above all, be truthful. If you tell even a little white lie concerning the circumstances of your departure from your job, you may find yourself with no job and no unemployment benefits.

Don't be surprised if your unemployment check doesn't begin to match the paycheck you've been earning. The amount you receive is based on your salary, but is in no way meant to cover the entire amount of money you were earning while employed full time. Whether you realized it or not, through payroll deductions you have been contributing to your unemployment account for just such a rainy day - but this amount isn't nearly enough to cover the expense of your unemployment benefits, so the benefit does come with a time limit.  It's in your own best interest to start circulating those resumes; your unemployment benefits will dry up and run out, sometimes in as few as 26 weeks.

Keep accurate records of your job search, because you may be required by your state unemployment office to prove that you are in fact seeking new employment. And don't forget to accurately fill out your benefit request form, either by mail or online, at least every two weeks or at the frequency dictated by your state's guidelines.


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