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Applying for Unemployment Benefits? Here's What You'll Need

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    If your position was recently terminated or you are concerned that you will be unemployed in the near future then now is the time to make sure you understand everything you will need to do in order to begin receiving your unemployment insurance as quickly as possible.

    First and foremost, you will need to contact your state unemployment office to begin the application process. Unemployment benefits are handled by states and many will allow you to apply online, over the phone, or in person at your local unemployment office. If you have recently moved to another state or live in one state and work or worked in another then you will file your claim with the state you recently worked in.

    When you file your claim you will need certain documents in order to move forward. The states vary in their requirements, but you will generally need to provide a:

    • Mailing address, including zip code
    • Phone number
    • Social Security number
    • Driver's License or State ID number (if you have one)
    • Veteran/Military separation date (if you have one)
    • Name, address, phone number of your most recent employer
    • Employer information for the last two years.

    You will be asked if you left the job on your own free will, were laid off, or fired. If you were fired by your employer for violating your company policies or quit then you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. Each state has their own guidelines, so it is important to contact state authorities for further guidance.

    If your claim is approved then it's also important to understand that your benefits are considered taxable income. You can choose to have the tax deferred and pay them when you file your taxes or you can have them withheld from your benefit payments.

    If you're ready to get started then contact your state unemployment office to begin the application process. States vary on the length of eligibility and the amount you can receive.