Unemployment insurance is a federal program that is run individually by each state. The program provides a temporary source of income for eligible individuals who lose their job. The funding source is payroll taxes that are paid by the employer(s) during the time that the individual was employed. The program was first developed in the 1930s, during the difficult years of the Great Depression, and it continues to function today as a means of providing income to people that are between jobs.
How Do I Apply for Unemployment Insurance?
In order to apply for unemployment insurance, you need to open a claim. An unemployment claim is the means by which you request the benefits that have already been earmarked for you through your employer's payroll tax contributions. Because the unemployment insurance program is individually run by each state, the rules and regulations vary. The easiest way to get started on opening your unemployment insurance claim is to enter your information to the right. This will allow us to match you with both public and private assistance offers that are available in your state. You'll also be provided with a link to your state's unemployment insurance website so you can get going on your claim application today.
Where do I find Unemployment Applications?
An employee must file a claim in order to determine eligibility. This process should be started as soon as possible after losing a job, because claims are not retroactive. Although there are numerous states that require a waiting week before benefits start, the week does not count as such until the claim has been filed. In some states, it can take as long as a month to start receiving benefits, so the longer the delay in making the initial claim, the longer the applicant with have to go without an income. In order to start the application process by opening a claim, unemployed persons should contact their local state unemployment office by clicking the correct state link. Depending on the rules present in the applicant's state, the claim may be filed online, in person or over the phone.
How Do Unemployment Benefits Help the Local Economy?
Unemployment insurance helps to keep the economic system solid by ensuring that there is plenty of money flowing between service providers and consumers. In a normal job-loss situation, it can be assumed that at least some of a person's bills would be left unpaid given the lack of a paycheck. Unemployment allows people to pay at least some of their bills, thus keeping the economy running smoothly. Further, those receiving unemployment benefits are more likely to keep the spending dollars they do have within their community instead of taking their money elsewhere while they search for work. This helps to stabilize the local economy and prevents drops in consumer spending, which is particularly important during a slow economy when unemployment claims are on the increase. However, one important point to note is that unemployment insurance is not welfare, meaning that need is not a consideration in factoring eligibility. Only those who are eligible for benefits will be approved to receive them, regardless of their overall need.
How Do Unemployment Insurance Benefits Work?
As mentioned, each state runs its own unemployment insurance program, while keeping it in line with the federal mandates. This means that the laws in each state can vary. However, most states have programs that are very similar to one another. One example of a law that varies from state to state is the waiting week. Most states require beneficiaries to wait one week after losing their job to receive unemployment benefits. However, there are states, like Kentucky, that do not require the waiting week. In order to simplify the process, most states have the same general guidelines that govern how the unemployment insurance program works. In order to receive benefits, a person must have had a reduction in work hours or a job loss and have had sufficient monetary
earnings in four of the last five quarters.
Beyond the prerequisite about lack of work, the process of determining eligibility is slightly more complicated, especially since it varies from state to state. However, the federal government has set forth some guidelines that form the basis of all state unemployment insurance programs. The primary guideline is that applicants are unemployed through no fault of their own. In practical terms, this means that one cannot resign or be fired from his or her job and then receive benefits, although there are some exceptions to this. For example, if an employee can show just cause for leaving a job for work-related reasons, his claim could be approved. When an employee is fired, it is up to the employer to decide whether or not they will authorize unemployment benefits for that employee. All exceptions aside, most scenarios in which a person would receive unemployment benefits include reductions in force and lay-offs.
In addition to the situation surrounding the job loss, there are other rules that govern a person's unemployment insurance eligibility. Namely, each person who receives benefits must be available to work, seeking full time work and able to work. Further, when an applicant is offered a position, he must accept the job or risk losing his benefits.
In addition to the eligibility requirements above, an applicant must also be monetarily eligible to receive benefits. In order to be monetarily eligible for benefits, he or she needs to have made sufficient earnings during the base period. To figure a client's base period, the last five quarters' earnings are noted, but only the first four of those quarters are used to determine eligibility. Each state then uses a chart or rule to discern the weekly benefit amount, which is based on monetary qualification and the base period earnings. That is to say that each person's unemployment insurance benefits amount is specific to his or her earnings history.
Generally speaking, most applicants can expect to receive about one half of his or her previous earnings. Therefore, if an applicant had a particularly good year previously as far as wage earnings, he can expect to receive more in unemployment benefits. A benefit year is the yearlong period following the initial opening of the unemployment insurance claim, in which the employee receives the aforementioned weekly benefit amount. During a benefit year, a person can draw a maximum of twenty-six weeks of unemployment benefits. Applicants must apply for a new claim each benefit year.
How Do I Ensure Continued Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits?
The initial approval for unemployment benefits is just the first piece of the puzzle. In fact, it is absolutely necessary in all states that filers continue to comply with the eligibility requirements in order to continue to receive benefits on a weekly basis. In order to do this, the person receiving the benefits must follow the rules set forth by the state, file weekly (or bi-weekly) claim vouchers and submit work search results. Filers should be sure to answer all voucher questions completely and accurately to avoid problems with payments. In order to receive benefits, most people who receive unemployment insurance are required to submit their weekly work search results. This includes a record of each person's attempts at obtaining a job. People who are members of unions or who work for hiring halls are generally exempt from submitting work searches.
How Do the Rules Vary From State to State?
Keep in mind that the rules for unemployment insurance do indeed vary from state to state. In light of this, it's important to reference the unemployment guidelines for the state in which you reside. To learn more about receiving unemployment benefits in your state, enter your information in the form. You will then be taken to a page that outlines the unemployment program in your state. Alternatively, you can jump to your state's information page by clicking “states” and picking your location from the list.