What Should I Bring to the Unemployment Office?

Unemployed workers can receive unemployment benefits at no cost to them.

Unemployment benefits are a temporary source of income for workers who have become unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control. Such individuals are either active in their jobs search, are in approved training or will return to their job within a certain amount of time. Unemployment benefits are possible due to taxes that employers pay. If you're unemployed and would like to file a claim for benefits, it's important to bring all the necessary documents to the unemployment office to speed up the process.


Step 1

Present two forms of identification. Examples of acceptable forms of ID are your Social Security card, your driver's license, a photo ID or your last pay stub and an organization card.

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Step 2

Make sure you have your last employer's name, complete address and telephone number.


Step 3

Include pay stubs and W-2 forms from each employer you worked for during the last 18 months.

Step 4

Provide the exact address of each company and the exact dates that you worked for each employer during the last 18 months.


Step 5

Have your DD-214 Member 4 if you served in the military during the last 18 months. If you worked for the federal government, also during the last 18 months, you'll need your SF-8. If you're in the process of receiving your SF-8 or DD-214, you can file for unemployment benefits pending receipt of the documents.


Eligibility requirements might vary slightly, depending on your state. For example, part-time employees generally don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. However, if you’re working part-time because that’s all you can find, you may qualify for benefits in some states.

Moreover, employees who leave a job willingly generally don’t qualify for benefits, but if the employee leaves his job to care for a family member, some states often approve unemployment benefits to such individuals.

Things You'll Need

  • Social Security number

  • Driver's license

  • Photo ID

  • Pay stubs

  • W-2 forms

  • DD-214 Member 4

  • SF-8


Be sure to file for unemployment benefits during the first week after becoming unemployed. Otherwise, you may lose a week’s worth of benefits, as your claim is effective the week you file.


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