How To Apply For Unemployment
If you've been unlucky enough to lose your job during the recent economic downturn, then you need to know how to apply for unemployment benefits. Applying for these benefits varies in each state, but there are some basics that are more or less the same no matter where you live. In some states you'll need to go to the state unemployment office, but in many states the unemployment application is now filled out online. Visit your state's department of labor website to find these applicaiton materials.
Whether you're applying online or in-person, you'll need to have these materials ready before you apply, so spend a few minutes compiling this information.
- Contact information: your mailing address, including the zip code, and phone number.
- Identification information: This includes your social security number and driver's license number and, in some states, your mother's maiden name.
- Veteran or Military Information: separation date and history
- Past Employer Information: This includes the name, address, and phone number of your employers for at least the last two years, as well as their federal ID number, which you can find on a W2 form.
- Past Employment History: Include the dates that you started and ended employment at each of the jobs you've held for the last two years and how much you earned.
Once you've gathered that information, you're ready to apply for unempolyment. Follow these steps to apply:
- Contact your state unemployment office. You can find the contact information online or in the phone book. Find out if the unemployment application needs to be done in person or online.
- If the application needs to be done in person, make a visit to the unemployment office. Depending on your city and the time of day that you go, there may be a long wait before you can be seen. Expect that the application may take a couple of hours.
- If the application can be completed online, visit the unemployment office website and begin filling out the forms. As with filling out the application in person, expect to spend up to a couple hours responding to the forms. Make sure your computer is plugged in, and make sure to save a copy for your own records.
- Wait for the unemployment office to approve or disapprove your appliacaiton. But don't wait too long: if you haven't heard from the office after one week, you should call to check the status of your application. If you are approved, you'll be given access to an online account where you can see how much total benefit you have left and reapply for benefits.
- Go early. Applying for unemployment can take some time, especially if you have to do it in person. If you're applying in person, try to go early, as soon as the office opens if possible. This will ensure that you are seen early.
- Appeal your disapproval. If your initial application is disapproved, there is an appeals process that you can go through to have your case consdiered. It's a good idea to learn about the appeals process on your first visit. Hopefully you won't be disapproved, but if you are it's better to know what your next step is ahead of time.
That's all there is to it. Good luck!