Many individuals consider a trip to the unemployment office to be a frustration or a headache to be dreaded. However, the internet has transformed the way workers can interact with their local offices. As a result, the process of applying for unemployment insurance (UI) no longer needs to fill you with dread. This is because the way you apply for unemployment today is more streamlined than it was in previous years.
While you’re still responsible for filling out paperwork, always have the option of real-time, personalized assistance to help you complete your application. As a result, applying for unemployment in today’s world no longer needs to result in confusion or embarrassment. Trained staff can help you fill out your application regardless of any special considerations you need. Additionally, language barriers are no longer an issue for applicants. This is because most offices can access applications in other languages quickly. Learn more about how to apply for unemployment by reading the information below.
1. How the Unemployment Office Can Help You See If You Qualify
The first step to applying for unemployment means finding out what benefits you may or may not be eligible to receive. Each state has different laws concerning the ways in which unemployment benefits are processed. You may be asked to present sensitive documents, data about yourself and details about your employment history to the benefits office.
Be prepared to answer all questions included in your unemployment application as honestly and thoroughly as possible. Omissions or falsifications you record in this stage can not only cause your benefits claim to be denied, but they can also bring legal consequences. Many factors can affect your eligibility for benefits, and you should familiarize yourself with some of these. Depending on your circumstances, the following can reduce your eligibility for benefits:
- Being the recipient of other state or federal supplements, such as U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) benefits or disability checks
- Having lost your job in a timeframe that does not correspond with the guidelines set forth by your state
- Being deemed to have lost your job through an “at-fault” scenario
However, if the unemployment office denies your claim, you may still be eligible to receive benefits. In order to do so, you would need to file an appeal and explain why you qualify to enroll in UI.
2. How to Apply For Unemployment Online, by Phone or in Person
You can apply for unemployment using several various methods. Though laws vary between states, different application forms are available to you no matter where you live. You can often apply via telephone, in person, by fax or online. However, the fastest and easiest way to apply for benefits is by creating an online account and completing everything on the computer.
Creating an unemployment benefits login is as simple as providing account information such as your name, birth date, Social Security Number (SSN) and a password to the program used by your local benefits office. Some states have even progressed so far as to have apps for downloading application materials directly onto your smartphone. If this method is available in your state, you can handle your unemployment needs right there through your device.
If you require extra assistance with your unemployment claim due to blindness, hearing impairment or other disabilities, services are available through the Department of Labor (DOL) to accommodate any such need. Likewise, if you simply do not feel confident completing your application materials on your own, all local benefits offices have staff available to guide you through the process in person, and often by digital chat as well.
3. How to Maintain Benefits by Filing Unemployment Claims Weekly
Keeping up your eligibility through your unemployment weekly claim is a key step in making sure you continue to receive the benefits you’re eligible for. Once you have submitted your application, it is your responsibility to meet your state’s weekly standards for reporting. You may be asked to come in person to sit at a computer and enter information about your week’s job hunt efforts. You may be able to track your job reporting online or through an app.
In order for you to begin to receive an unemployment check, some states mandate a waiting period in which you are still expected to keep up with weekly filings. Other states will pay out immediately, but only every two weeks. Remember that any wait period imposed or weekly expectations should be regarded as part of the application process itself and not as something “extra” to be taken less seriously.
4. Common Mistakes to Avoid When Applying For Unemployment
Remember that unemployment claims are legal documents that represent a great deal of money and time. Failure to comply with established standards regarding reporting, the circumstances of your former employment or any other aspect of the procedures as they are laid out can do more than cost you benefits. You can face serious legal consequences if you are found to have manipulated any part of your application for any reason. Double check the following to make sure your unemployment claim application is filed smoothly and successfully:
- You have honestly reported all other benefits, federal aid or supplements that you receive, including any associated with pensions, inheritances or lottery winnings.
- You can produce documentation to support every fact you share about your former employment.
- Your personal information is entered correctly into the unemployment calculator. Simple mistakes on these matters can mean major delays in payment.
- You follow weekly guidelines about job applications and report all job offers that you receive, even if you did not accept them. Be prepared to explain any offers you turned down
Keep your unemployment benefits login information entirely to yourself. Do not share your login even with family members or close friends. This is because any misuse or appropriation of your information will be held accountable to you. Keep all documents concerning your unemployment application in a safe place and make multiple copies in case something gets lost or you have to file an appeal. Remember that if your first application for benefits is denied, you do have the right to appeal and try again.