The Unemployment Guide

Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Benefits


Millions of Americans have lost their jobs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are one of them, or are looking for more information about unemployment, we have created a list of resources to help you during this crisis.

Note: This is a directory of resources provided by state or federal governments. The Unemployment Help Guide is in no way affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by the federal government, any other governmental body or any private entity offering similar benefits. We do not provide any government benefits, money or third party products and/or services.

If you have been employed during the past year and have lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. To find out, please visit here and select the state where you live to file a claim or learn more.

If you are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. When you are unable to work due to a major disaster, these benefits may apply. Please visit here for more information or to file a claim.

Unemployment Benefits

How to Apply

To start receiving benefits, file a claim in the state where you last worked. You can do so online, by telephone, or in person, depending on your state. For a full list of state agencies where you can file your claim and additional resources, please click here.

Unemployment Benefits


How Do I Know If I'm Eligible For Unemployment?

Unemployment insurance applications can vary by state, but it is also run by the federal government so the eligibility rules are usually the same. You are generally eligible if you are unemployed through no fault of your own, meet wage requirements, and any additional state requirements. You can find details by state here.

If you are still technically employed but haven’t worked any hours last week, you may still be eligible for benefits. There is more flexibility now due to the coronavirus pandemic so if you are quarantined or otherwise unable to work, you may be eligible as well You can always apply even if you’re not sure you’re eligible, it can’t hurt!

When Should I Apply For Unemployment?
Apply as soon as you’re not working! Some states still have a week delay before you’ll get benefits, but the earlier you apply the earlier you may receive money. There’s no reason to wait. Online is the easiest and quickest way to apply. While states are experiencing a huge increase in applications, there may be delays or outages, but keep trying!
What Do I Need to File a Claim?

Here’s what you’ll need to file a claim:

Your social security number or alien registration number.

Information on your last job, including company name, address, phone number, supervisor’s name, and the company’s tax ID (located on your W-2), wages, and wage schedule (hourly, weekly).

The reason you are no longer working.

Please visit your state’s unemployment benefits site here to find out exactly what your state requires.

How Long Can I Get Unemployment?

In most states you can get benefits for up to 26 weeks. But the recently passed CARES act added an additional 13 weeks, for a total of 39 weeks. It also makes more people eligible for unemployment, like self-employed workers. You can find more information about extended benefits here.

Should I Still Look For a Job While Getting Benefits?
Yes! Most states require you to actively search for work while receiving benefits, so keep looking and be sure to keep a record of your search. The sooner you get a job, the better, so don’t give up even if it seems hard!
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