To apply for unemployment benefits, you will have to meet the eligibility requirements. You will also have to present certain documents and papers.

How to File for Unemployment Benefits

Check the Internet for the location of the state unemployment office near you. Make sure you call or write them before you go to the office.

Among the documents you will have to bring are your Social Security Number, Alien Registration Card (for non-US citizens), phone number, mailing address and zip code. You will also have to present documents containing the names and addresses of every company you worked in the last 24 months.

These are the basic requirements. Depending on the state law, you may have to present other papers when you apply for unemployment benefits.

Who is Eligible?
The amount and duration of these benefits are determined by the laws of the state. To get these benefits, one has to meet the unemployment requirements for salary earned. Moreover, they should be unemployed through no liability of their own.

Those who may be disqualified from getting unemployment benefits are the following: quitting for no good reason, resigned due to marriage, is self employed, gotten involved in labor disputes, fired due to improper conduct or going to school.

What Benefits Will I Get?

This will vary per state. Most states provide unemployment benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. During recession, more benefits may be provided by the state.

The amount will vary too; in most cases, the compensation is 50% of your earnings but only up to a certain level. In New York the maximum is $405, but in Arizona it is $205.

Note: after you apply for unemployment benefits, make sure to include this on your Federal income tax return. These benefits are subject to taxes, including any extended unemployment benefits you may get. Contact the state unemployment office for additional information.

When Should I File a Claim?

File your claim the moment you are laid-off. After you file, you have to wait about three weeks before getting a check. It is recommended you file as early as possible; filing late may delay the release of the checks. After you get the check, you can file for claims every week via mail or phone.

Am I Entitled if I Quit Work?

If you resigned, there is no guarantee you will get compensation when you apply for unemployment benefits. It depends on why you resigned; the state unemployment office will determine whether it is good cause or not. There will be a hearing where you can state your case.

Other Requirements

Most if not all states will require you to register with the state job service. While accepting unemployment checks, you must also look for work. You may be required to apply for work and send out resumes.

To avoid problems when claiming, records pertaining to your previous employers have to be presented. If you have the right papers and meet the eligibility standards, you will have no problems when you apply for unemployment benefits.

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