Unemployment benefits provide weekly compensation to individuals who have been separated from their employer through no fault of their own. Compensation is provided at a reduced rate of an individual's salary. Since each state governs and administers its own unemployment benefits policies, eligibility requirements for those wishing to claim benefits may vary. However, each state requires similar actions for individuals to claim benefits. In fact, many states have "One Stop" centers set up where unemployed workers can claim benefits and find work.
Contact your state's unemployment insurance agency's office immediately after being separated from your employer. Be prepared to provide factual information, such as your last day of work, your job title and description, your address and your employer's, reason for separation and your Social Security number.
Wait to receive notification from the agency in regard to your eligibility. Once determined eligible, wait to receive information related to your weekly benefit rate and your "claim date."
Call in your claim on the date listed on your claim form. You may also mail in your claim. When calling, be sure to listen to each question completely before answering. Provide your Social Security number.
Report any hours worked during the week in addition to wages earned. If you mail in your claim, be sure to sign the bottom of the form before sending.
In any week in which you claim benefits, you must be looking and available for work.
If you miss your claim date, contact your state's unemployment office immediately.
To receive your benefits faster, ask your state's unemployment agency about direct depositing your unemployment benefits into your bank account.
In many states, such as Massachusetts, you can file for unemployment benefits on the web.
Technical glitches may occur when calling to claim benefits. Make sure that you wait to hear confirmation that you will be issued a check before disconnecting the call.
If you fail to report earnings from employment during any week in which you claim benefits, you may be subject federal penalties, including fines and imprisonment.