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How Do I File for Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment insurance

programs of the US Department of Labor provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and meet some other eligibility requirements.

Unemployment insurance is a shared federal government program that provides cash benefits to eligible workers. Each state has a separate unemployment insurance program, but all states follow the same guidelines established by federal law.

Am i eligible?

Each state sets eligibility guidelines for unemployment insurance, but you generally qualify if:

  • Unemployed without your fault. In most states, this means you have to separate from your last job due to a lack of available work.
  • Meet job requirements and wages. You must meet your state's requirements for earned wages or work time within a specific time period called the "base period." (In most states, these are generally the first four quarters of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to the time you file your claim).
  • Meet additional case requirements. Find the details of your state's program.

How do I sign up?

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you must file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims can be filed in person, over the phone, or online.

  • You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after you become unemployed.
  • Generally, you must file your claim with the state in which you operate. If you work in a state other than the one you live in now, or if you work in multiple states, the unemployment insurance agency in the state you live in now can provide information on how to send your claim to other states.
  • When filing a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your previous employment. To ensure that your claim is not delayed, be sure to provide complete and correct information.
  • It typically takes two to three weeks after submitting your claim for your first due check.