How To File for Unemployment

With our economy in poor shape and many out of work, thousands of people are losing their jobs and are now pursuing unemployment compensation. But because most of these people have been employed for many years, they are unsure on the steps they need to take in order to receive unemployment benefits.

First and foremost, you should contact your local state unemployment agency for specific information to see whether you are eligible for unemployment compensation, the benefit amount to which you are entitled, and how long the benefits will last.

Second, when speaking with a representative at the unemployment agency, it must be determined by the agency if you've has been unemployed due to reasonable actions, and it must be also established whether you have earned the qualifying minimum amount of wages during a specified time before filing for unemployment.

After these two steps have been taken and the qualifying questions have been successfully answered, it is time to find out how to make the claim. In some states you can use website services or use the phone for help and information. It is important to note that it will take two to four weeks after the claim has been filed for you to receive your first benefit check, so timeliness when submitting the claim is vital.

Also, if you are now living in a different state from the one in which you recently worked, then it will be important to contact the local unemployment agency for additional information on how to file the claim.

Third, if you should discover that your claim has been denied, then you or your previous employer may choose to appeal that decision; if you choose to appeal, then that decision needs to be acted upon immediately. Your local unemployment agency can give you more information on how to proceed when a claim is denied.

If, however, the claim is approved, you will need to keep filing biweekly claims with the agency and attend any interviews or appointments necessary with the agency or unemployment office to ensure that you continue to receive benefits in a timely fashion.

Benefits vary from state to state but if you are approved, you will most likely receive biweekly checks for 26 weeks. The check amount will be a percentage of your earnings over the previous year. If high unemployment rates last for a long time in your state or region or your situation requires an extension, you may be eligible for extended benefits. These extended benefits - their length and the benefit levels - can be discussed at length at your local unemployment office.


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