What Does the Not Paid Status on Unemployment Mean?

Each state runs its own unemployment insurance compensation program a little differently. Software and terminology vary, making it so that claimants across the country have different interactions with their state unemployment departments. However, when an unemployment department's systems indicate that a beneficiary's claim is "not paid," it usually indicates that a benefits check hasn't yet been issued. There can be several reasons for that.


Just like employers, unemployment programs run batches of paychecks. Depending on the state, these occur once to several times a week. The day a person makes her weekly or biweekly claim isn't usually the day her check is issued. Therefore, from the time a valid claim is made until a payment is issued, a state's computer system is likely to show the current week's payment as "not paid."


Unemployment officials look for abuses of the system. Occasional audits and examinations can lead them to query a claimant or investigate a case. When this happens, officials can stop payments pending their investigation. Once unemployment case workers resolve their questions or issues, claimants receive back pay of any missed payments. However, an investigation that turns up fraud or violations of program rules can result in a termination of benefits and even a claimant paying back an overpayment.


As of September 2011, federal unemployment extension programs offer up to 99 weeks of benefits to those hit by the economic crisis of 2008 and 2009. Extension programs have multiple tiers of benefits, each of which requires application or case review. Although state unemployment insurance programs automatically file extension applications on beneficiaries' behalf, the review process can take time. Unemployment recipients are supposed to continue their weekly or biweekly claims, even while applications are in process. They then receive back pay when approved. However, during the review period, claims can show as "not paid."


Computer systems and their users make errors. Claimants who don't understand their claim status or actions taken by their unemployment department can call and get assistance. Case workers can check for mistakes or explain in detail what is happening with a particular case. Sometimes unusual circumstances arise that can create payment delays.