If you are currently unemployed or know you will be getting laid off in the near future then you are probably trying to figure out how and when you should begin the process of filing for unemployment. These benefits are a vital revenue source for individuals and families who are currently unemployed, but those benefits vary wildly depending on what state you live in.
How do I apply for Unemployment Benefits?
All states and territories of the United States have an unemployment office that handles unemployment applications and disperses the benefits.
The first thing you need to do is contact your state unemployment office so you can begin the application process. Each state has different requirements and regulations, so you would want to research those requirements before filing your application.
I'll use my state of New Hampshire as an example. New Hampshire residents who file for unemployment benefits must:
- be totally or partially unemployed.
- register for work unless you have been specifically exempted.
- be available for full-time work on all shifts and during all the hours work claimant is qualified for is normally performed.
- be physically and mentally able to work.
- search for work.
- file timely claims for benefits.
- participate in Re-employment Services if selected by NH Employment Security.
- disclose mandatory child support payments or overpaid food stamp coupons.
- report any refusal of work or referral to work.
Once you are able to determine if you may be eligible for unemployment benefits in your state then you can begin filling out your application. You can do this by filing your application online or at your local unemployment services office. If you do file your application online then the office may still ask you to come for an in-person meeting before your benefits can begin.
Each state also has different rules regulating how many weeks an individual can receive unemployment benefits before the expire, so make sure you are aware of how many weeks you can receive benefits before you sign up.