How to file for Unemployment Benefits


No matter what the reasons are, if you have to file for unemployment, it is really depressing and you even feel humiliation. If you are already laid off or expected to be fired soon, you better prepare any necessary information regarding unemployment benefits. There are a few steps that make the whole process simple. This way, you don't have to spend a lot of time at your local unemployment office, which usually takes hours of long line.

Nowadays the process of filing claims has been simplified over the past years. In many states, they now allow you to file by telephone or over the internet. If you are unable to file for unemployment online, then you can still do so by telephone using unemployment phone number. Here are some common questions about unemployment:

When Should I file?

You need to file the claim within the first week that you were unemployed either completely or partially. Do not delay filing because you won't get paid for the weeks prior to the week you filed the claim. Also it usually takes 2-3 weeks for the benefit checks to arrive to your place.

What documents will I need to file?

Any specific documents will vary depending on states, but generally you will need SSN, mailing address, zip code and a telephone number where you can be reached. Also a pay stub, the names and addresses of all employers for whom you've worked within the last 18 months including those in another state.

You can still file a claim if you don't have all of the above documents, but there might be a delay in processing your first payment.

How much of benefits will I receive?

You'll receive a weekly unemployment benefit based on how long you were employed and your prior compensation, regardless of which state you live in. The state will calculate your average weekly wage, and you will receive a percentage of that wage based on your state's formula. You can figure out your average weekly wage by adding up 12 months' worth of pay stubs and dividing that number by 52. If you were salaried, just divide your annual salary by 52.

The maximum payment you are eligible to receive, as well as the number of weeks you can get paid in one year, varies from state to state.

Note that unemployment compensation is considered to be a taxable income. When you work, your employer usually withholds money from each paycheck to pay taxes on behalf of you. But when you switch to receive unemployment compensation, nothing will be automatically withheld from your check as before. This means that you now have to pay estimated tax to fulfill your tax obligation. Call or visit your local IRS office regarding specific tax questions.

At the state unemployment offices or online, you can find many useful information regarding overall unemployment benefits and compensations ranging from job search to other helpful information.

This website is not affiliated with any state's Unemployment Office or Department.

For questions regarding your local Unemployment Benefits please go to Unemployment Phone Number for each state.