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How to Apply for Unemployment

The bad news is you've lost your job. The good news is you might be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.


  • Step 1: Find your unemployment office Find your state unemployment insurance benefits office. Just enter the name of your state along with "unemployment insurance" into a search engine.
  • Step 2: See if you're eligible See if you're eligible to file a claim. Rules vary from state to state, but basically you cannot have quit your job or been fired for cause. How long you were employed, how many hours you worked per week, how much you earned, and your basic work history are also taken into account.
  • Step 3: Apply for benefits Apply for benefits per the site's instructions. These days, you can register online. Be sure to have your social security number handy, as well as your former employer's address and phone number.
  • TIP: If you are collecting Social Security or a pension, that may reduce your unemployment payments.
  • Step 4: Follow the rules If you are deemed eligible to collect unemployment and begin receiving checks, make sure you preserve your eligibility by following your state's rules. Generally, that means that you must report any money you earn on the side, you must be actively seeking full-time employment, and you cannot turn down a "suitable" job offer.
  • TIP: If you are denied benefits, you may file an appeal.
  • Step 5: Calculate your unemployment check If you're curious about how much money you're entitled to in weekly benefits payments, go to the Economic Policy Institute's weekly benefit amount calculator at "":http://.
  • Step 6: Get a job Get a job before those checks stop coming in, which is usually after 26 weeks.
  • FACT: Fewer than half of the people out of work at any given time seek unemployment benefits -- many think they're not eligible or are intimidated by the process.

You Will Need

  • Eligibility for unemployment benefits
  • A claim to file

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