How to Calculate Unemployment

The Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Specific eligibility requirements and benefits may vary from state to state.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Calculate your recent earnings Calculate your earnings over the most recent 52-week period. Benefits are based on a percentage of your earnings over this period. The maximum amount you are eligible for depends on your state.
  • TIP: To obtain information about unemployment benefits for a particular state, go to www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp
  • Step 2: Check your eligibility for extended benefits Check whether you are eligible for extended unemployment benefits beyond the 26-week maximum mandated in most states.
  • TIP: The basic extended benefits program lets states experiencing high unemployment provide up to 13 additional weeks of benefits. Some states may also enact a voluntary program to pay additional weeks.
  • Step 3: Pay your taxes Don't forget to report unemployment benefits on your federal income tax return.
  • FACT: The unemployment rate in the U.S. reached 25 percent during the Great Depression.

You Will Need

  • Unemployment rules
  • Earnings over past year
  • Eligibility for extended benefits
  • Federal tax return
  • Internet access (optional)

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