Filing for Unemployment Benefits Online

There are many advantages to online access, especially when it comes to filing applications for different situations (i.e., jobs, insurance, etc.). One important advantage is it eliminates the need to travel to a particular store, office or other business centers to apply, saving us time, gas and bus fare. Another important advantage is that a person has space for privacy since filing can be done at a library, home or any other place that has free Wi-Fi connections. Of course, there is the complete avoidance of crowded centers and long waiting lines!

In this article, we will discuss specifically about how to apply for unemployment benefits online, which happens to be a fairly simple procedure. There are two ways to begin:

1. You can go to your resident state’s site by entering a search like “apply for unemployment in _____________” and this will bring you to that states’ unemployment site; or
2. You can do a general search like “filing for unemployment benefits” and the list of some of the sites revealed will require you to select the state you wish to file in and the site will give you access to that state’s unemployment website.

The first thing to remember about unemployment is that rules and regulations differ within the 50 states. Therefore, you MUST file ONLY with your local unemployment office. Many states give the option of filing online, in person and even over the phone. Next, it must be determined whether a person is eligible to receive unemployment so one must be prepared to report personal information that some may consider to be too sensitive (i.e., reason why the person is now unemployed). Nevertheless, all mandatory questions must be answered.

Verifying eligibility involves two factors:

1. A person CANNOT be at fault for losing his/her job (i.e., if someone has been fired because of some irresponsible behavior on his/her part or has walked off the job of their own accord, they will NOT be eligible for unemployment); and

2. You MUST have worked a certain amount of hours on the job in order to receive benefits.

These two factors will automatically be checked by your local unemployment office as part of the process. It should be noted that in the past, some people who were forced to quit their jobs because of cruel or unfair treatment on the job, were granted unemployment benefits under the term “constructive discharge”. However, this is a situation which must be undeniably proven, especially if the person intends to move forward with legal action against their former job.

Once you’ve gone through the initial process of finding your local unemployment office, the next step is the application itself. Keeping in mind that guidelines and form setups vary in all the states, the application for the majority of states will request the following general information:

• Contact information (name, address, telephone number(s) and email address;
• Reason you’re unemployed;
• How long you’ve been unemployed;
• Job experience;
• Educational background; and
• Kinds of jobs for which you are looking.

No matter which state we’re referring to, you should answer each question given carefully and completely before submission. Once submitted, you need only patiently wait, hopefully for the approval. Once approved, your local unemployment office will notify you and explain how long you will be receiving unemployment benefits. However, no matter the length of time you are to receive payments, it should be known that Congress has enacted a law for those who find themselves in the unfortunate position of coming to the end of their benefit period and still not having a job: an unemployment extension for up to two years. Again, to find out the specifics about this law, check with your local office.

Also remember that during this very stressful time, you might need other assistance which the government and other organizations can provide. It might be a good idea to check into programs such as government Grants, Welfare, Food Stamps, Educational benefits and many of the other available aids to see if you qualify to receive any of them.

One last thing: unemployment income must be reported and taxes must be paid so contact a tax attorney or your local office about this essential rule.

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