The Basics for Collecting Unemployment

Posted by

There is much confusion with some people when it comes to the understanding of collecting unemployment benefits, so let us take a look as some basics of that system. Each state’s regulations may vary in areas, so be sure to check with your state for more specifics, but these tips are pretty much a standard in all states.

An important point to understand is that the receiving of unemployment benefits is only for those who have lost their job through no fault of their own. If you walk out, quit, give notice, or in any way leave voluntarily, then you will be unable to receive unemployment benefits. Once you file, a review board will examine your case, looking at your work history and they will determine your base year/period year, which is basically the calculation of the first four full calendar quarters of the last five calendar quarters prior to your filing the claim. This time frame will determine if you are eligible, based on whether you worked the minimum time and made the minimum required amount during that time to qualify for the benefits.

While most states have different minimum and maximum guidelines, the amount that you collect averages to about half of your salary you had been receiving. This is a figure that is calculated and supplied to you, so there is nothing needed on your part in this area.

It is important that you file you claim as soon as possible after being separated from your job. Benefits do take a bit of time to process, with most states having about a one-week waiting period for those filing new claims. So, receiving benefits will have at least a one-week amount of time before you begin seeing any of the benefits. Depending on your state’s set up, filing is often able to be accomplished online, over the phone, or at the local branch of your state’s workforce board. The main requirements needed to file are your social security number and the contact information for your previous job.

There is often the possibility that you claim gets denied. This could be an error or filing issue, but more commonly it may be an attempt by your former employer to block you from getting the benefits. Reports show that the amount of employers doing this is on the rise, but that the amount of times it is successful is not rising. If for some reason you are denied, you can and must file an appeal as soon as possible. To file an appeal it is important that you prove your case, and so supplying them with any evidence you have that can make your case will benefit the appeal. This includes pay stubs, witnesses, and any items like letters of recommendation or awards that show you were a valued employee – in case the former employer is trying to report that you were fired for wrong doings. Also, it is never a bad idea to hire a representative to handle your appeal process; the appeal is a legal case and having someone familiar with the law in this matter is a huge plus for you. I have covered the appeal process in more detail in previous posts, and there are many more tips in this area that need to be reviewed if you come up against this.

So, while unemployment benefits are there to help you in times of layoffs and other types of job separations, they are not necessarily a guarantee to everyone just for being out of work, as some may think. If you meet the qualifications and can prove your case, if needed, then the benefits are there to assist you while you are seeking new employment.


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch